I’ve highlighted the trend toward granite countertops and stainless steel appliances and here is some more evidence of home buyers looking for McMansion features, this time in the Philadelphia area:
Two couples I know are trying to sell city houses they have owned for more than three decades. The houses are historic, and conventional wisdom when they bought them as shells was to restore them without compromising their architectural integrity.
They bought them when they were young, raised their families in them, and now they are ready to move on.
One couple have had their house on the market since April. One of the owners told me prospective buyers seem to want marble bathrooms and gourmet kitchens, which are more suburban McMansion phenomena than urban trends.
“They can go to the home center and get those things,” she said, blaming TV reality shows for the attitude.
Today’s numbers reflect an impasse: Few people are buying, and those who do are paying bottom dollar; most sellers aren’t willing to take less.
Buyers want the best features but want the cheaper price while home sellers have to wrestle with not spending too much money to update in a down market when housing values have dropped.
Can we solely blame TV reality shows for this phenomenon? Here are three other reasons this might be happening:
1. Tastes have gone up and people expect better features in their home. This isn’t just from reality TV: advertising plays a role (similar pitches from the 1950s to today) as do reference groups.
2. More than in the past, home owners don’t have the home repair skills or will to do these repairs. Therefore, they want the sellers to have done this work for them and then don’t want to have to deal with it for a while.
3. It is a buyer’s market and so buyers tend to ask for everything. Many home sellers don’t have much leverage.