New homes are bigger, have more amenitiesOUESTION: How are...

REAL ESTATE Q & A

July 04, 1993

New homes are bigger, have more amenities

OUESTION: How are new home designs changing in the 1993 market?

ANSWER: One change is in size. New single-family homes are bigger and offer more amenities like extra bathrooms and two-car garages than those built last year, according to data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

"There are more move-up buyers who are demanding bigger homes with added features this year," said Roger Glunt, president of the National Association of Home Builders. "Also, buyers today want homes to fit their lifestyles and that means more spacious and efficient kitchens and bathrooms."

The median size of a single-family home built last year increased by 30 square feet to 1,920 square feet over the previous year. And the trend is continuing. It's not uncommon for upscale homes today to have two baths in the master bedroom -- his and hers. And baths are bigger to accommodate whirlpools, skylights and linen closets.

Homes with two or more stories are also on the increase. In 1978, only 28 percent of new homes had two stories or more. By 1988 that share climbed to 49 percent, and it's still climbing. Household size may be shrinking but garage size is growing. In 1978, the number of homes built with garages for two or more cars was just 52 percent. Last year it reached 75 percent.

And in areas where basements are not prevalent, like California and many Southern states, buyers want bigger garages for extra storage space.

Fireplaces continue to be a very popular amenity, according to a NAHB report. They are now included in over two-thirds of new homes. And central air conditioning is included in 77 percent of new homes.

Coldwell Banker brokers welcome firm's sale

Q: How do brokers associated with Coldwell Banker Real Estate feel about the recent sale of their firm?

A: The purchase of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Group by the massive Bechtel Corp., an international construction and real estate firm, is a positive development, in the view of Nancy Amorteguy, manager of a California Coldwell Banker residential office.

The nation's third-largest real estate group was recently acquired by Bechtel from Sears, Roebuck and Co. The purchase price was not announced, but estimates from trade insiders range from $170 million to $400 million.

"The new ownership will give us valuable new corporate connections that will result in more referrals and relocation contacts," Ms. Amorteguy said. "We're really excited about the new ownership. The past owners [Sears] were losing focus on the needs of the company."

Coldwell Banker's residential group owns 416 offices and franchises 1,700 other real estate offices throughout the country. Last year, the firm reported total revenues of $1.6 billion produced by about 421,000 property transactions. But their first-quarter losses this year amounted to about $7.7 million, it was reported.

James M. Woodard

Copley News Service

(Send questions to James M. Woodard, Copley News Service, P.O. Box 190, San Diego, Calif. 92112-0190.)

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