Data is truly our most valuable asset, and in our industry, insight into consumer sentiment is more important today than ever.

Now that Coldwell Banker has released the findings from its latest consumer survey, we can glean what is going through the minds of potential homebuyers and sellers. The results shine a light on the hidden corners of the market, revealing insights that challenge conventional ideas and provide a roadmap for real estate professionals to navigate the landscape effectively.

Here are the top five takeaways to guide you in 2024:

1. Consumers are prioritizing affordability over location

While “location, location, location” has long been sales professionals’ resounding advice to consumers, our survey found that 56 percent of respondents prioritize price as the most important consideration when choosing a home, compared to location (50 percent). This priority is particularly notable among women, with 60 percent valuing price first compared to 48 percent of men.

While you should continue to counsel your clients on the best location to fit their goals, keep in mind that the other pieces of the equation like budget may now weigh more heavily in final decision-making than in the past.

2. Seeking new scenery

Homeowners who plan to sell their homes in the future are considering relocation, with a combined 66 percent stating they plan to move to either a different city, state, or country. They will be able to compare their next destination using our Move Meter tool, which allows consumers to compare characteristics such as cost and quality of living location by location.

With this in mind, real estate professionals shouldn’t forget their feeder markets for potential leads, and they should also connect with other agents in those markets. Being part of a global network like Coldwell Banker — with 100,000 agents across more than 2,600  offices in 40 countries – certainly helps with lead generation and referrals.

3. Keeping up with the Joneses: Influence of social media

In an age where social media plays an increasingly significant role in shaping consumer behavior, it’s crucial for real estate professionals to recognize its influence — which might be even stronger than you think.

A substantial 43 percent of consumers report being influenced or highly influenced by social media in their home purchasing decisions. This number is even higher among luxury consumers from the survey, with 73 percent of them saying the same.

This indicates the significant role that platforms such as Instagram and Facebook play in shaping consumer desires, highlighting the need for a strong social media presence and strategy.

4. No one-size-fits-all dream home

When we asked consumers the following questions, we anticipated a general consensus.

  • What is your dream home size?
  • What is your dream home design style?
  • Where is your dream home located?

However, aside from home size (49 percent say their dream home is “mid-size” with three to four bedrooms and two to three bathrooms), we found that across generations, regions and other demographics, there is no one-size-fits-all formula.

While nearly a third of consumers express a preference for homes in the South, a quarter favor the Northeast. Similarly, the data signals a pretty even split across design style preferences, with one generational standout: The youngest group surveyed (18-24) is the least likely to favor “Ranch” (8 percent), while the 55 and older group is the most likely (21 percent).

A significant portion (16 percent) of respondents indicate no particular style preference, underscoring the individuality inherent in home design choices. These findings emphasize the need for flexibility and customization in catering to diverse preferences within the market.

5. Don’t discount your vital role

As the 2024 real estate market takes shape, the expertise and knowledge of real estate professionals will continue to become increasingly essential. With a deep understanding of market sentiment, ideal home preferences, financial dynamics and the influence of social media, real estate professionals can guide their clients more effectively, helping them uncover what they truly want out of a home.

Coldwell Banker: A steadfast partner in the journey

With a deep understanding of market trends and a dedication to meeting the diverse needs of clients, Coldwell Banker remains at the forefront of the real estate landscape, providing unmatched insights and unwavering support to industry professionals committed to real estate.

For a detailed exploration of the consumer survey results, visit the Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog.

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