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Despite Economy Most Homeowners Not Downsizing

Potential Buyers Want Efficient Use of Space to Accommodate Life Changes

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Dec. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Whether a millennial, Gen Xer or baby boomer, homeowners overwhelmingly want their next home to be the same size or larger than their current home, according to a recent PulteGroup Home Index (PGHI) survey by national homebuilder PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM).  This latest PGHI survey polled current homeowners on size and feature preferences for their next home. 

"It was interesting to see that 84 percent of homeowners ages 18-59 don't have plans to downsize their next home, even among baby boomers," said Deborah Meyer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of PulteGroup.  "The PGHI survey results also show that today's buyers are equally focused on smarter use of the spaces within their homes.  We invest significant time and resources in understanding our consumers, and when combined with efficient product design, PulteGroup is able to offer homes that live bigger and can meet consumer preferences."

Further proof that increased house size is on the rise comes from recent U.S. Census Bureau data which indicates the average size of a newly built home was 2,480 square feet in 2011, which is an increase of 3.7 percent from 2010.  This represents the first annual increase since 2007.

Generational Differences  
More than half of millennials, homeowners between the ages of 18-34, would like their next home to be larger than their current home with 68 percent of those respondents saying the larger home would be used to accommodate their growing family.  Meanwhile, showing the diversity of Gen Xers, nearly 40 percent of respondents ages 35-54 want a larger home to accommodate a growing family (37 percent) and need more room and storage space (29 percent).

One of the most interesting survey results came from baby boomer respondents.  Only 28 percent of those ages 55-59 said they want their next home to be smaller, citing retirement and becoming an empty nester as the top reasons for downsizing.

"Baby boomers are a diverse group and have a lot of desires for the home," said Meyer.  "We're hearing this group say they want functionality and smartly-designed homes without wasted space.  This doesn't necessarily translate into smaller homes.  That's why you'll see a variety of floor plans in our Del Webb communities from under 1,000 square feet to more than 3,000 square feet."

Forget Formality, Homeowners Want More Space   
According to the survey, 21 percent of homeowners ages 18-59 rarely use their formal dining room while 17 percent said they rarely use their formal living room.  When asked to rank the most important feature in their next home, nearly half (48 percent) of respondents want larger, open spaces, including master bedrooms, larger rooms and open floor concepts.

When asked to rank their top five "must haves" in their next home, respondents indicated they want:

  • Larger rooms
  • Master bedrooms suites
  • More storage space
  • Patio/outdoor living space
  • Energy efficiency

While men and women ages 18-59 agree on having a master bedroom suite, 62 percent of women said they also would like to have more storage space while 45 percent of men want more technology in the home.  And, as older men (55-59) embark upon retirement, they rank having a study/den in their top five must-have features.

"Many homeowners say they can do without a formal dining and living room, and we've seen this trend for a while," Meyer said.  "House designs today are much more open and flowing as opposed to 'fixed and formal.'  While homeowners are moving away from these formal areas, they want better use of space to create more flex and practical spaces such as, large informal kitchen and dining areas, expanded laundry rooms, and planning centers."

Family Closeness Still a Factor in Choosing a Home's Location   
Homeowners are willing to give up a lot to get what they want in their next home, but across all generations they don't want to give up being close to their family.

When asked what homeowners 18-59 would be willing to give up for the "must haves" in their next home:

  • 52 percent cited being close to public transportation
  • 35 percent said they're willing to give up being close to entertainment and shopping
  • 28 percent said they would give up being near parks and better schools.

However, the last thing homeowners want to give up is being near their family with only 21 percent saying moving away from their family would be an option.

About the Survey  
The PulteGroup Home Index (PGHI) survey polled U.S. adult homeowners to understand home size and feature preferences.  The survey was conducted online by Russell Research from November 16-19, 2012 among 503 homeowners ages 18–59 across the U.S.  At a 95 percent confidence level, the results have a statistical precision of +/- 4.4 percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult population had been polled with complete accuracy.  Figures for gender, age, and geography were weighted where necessary to match their actual proportions in the population.

About PulteGroup   
PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM), based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is one of America's largest homebuilding companies with operations in approximately 60 markets throughout the country.  Through its brand portfolio that includes Centex, Pulte Homes and Del Webb, the company is one of the industry's most versatile homebuilders able to meet the needs of multiple buyer groups and respond to changing consumer demand. PulteGroup conducts extensive research to provide homebuyers with innovative solutions and new homes designed for the way people actually live today.  As the most awarded homebuilder in customer satisfaction, PulteGroup brands have consistently ranked among top homebuilders in third-party customer satisfaction studies.

For more information about PulteGroup, Inc. and PulteGroup brands, go to pultegroupinc.com; www.pulte.com; www.centex.com; www.delwebb.com.

SOURCE PulteGroup

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