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Survey finds great design is No. 1 priority among buyers

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Buyers have long been told to focus on the three Ls when shopping for a home: location, layout and lot size. But it turns out more buyers are focusing on HD — as in home design.

According to the 2012 Consumer Insights survey from John Burns Real Estate Consulting, 58 percent of 15,548 respondents ranked home design as a top priority, tying location and edging out and safety and — surprisingly — price.

What gives?

David Barista of HousingZone.com attempts to piece it together:

“For the second year in a row, consumers surveyed by John Burns show that home design is above price and rivals location as the most important characteristic when purchasing their next home (see chart 1 below). Even when the data is broken out by region, market, submarket, and virtually any demographic category, home design tends to end up among the top of the list. It’s a trend that, while somewhat surprising on the surface, makes a lot of sense given the state of the housing market. With housing affordability at record levels in most markets and submarkets, it takes something much more compelling than having the best price to get people to move.”

Let that be a call to arms for builders. If prospective buyers want great design, now is the time to use your creativity and imagination.