Price premium for single-family homes is easing in some markets

by Steve Randall22 Nov 2019

Given the choice, millennial homebuyers would prefer a single-family home rather than a triplex with a shorter commute according to a Redfin survey.

It found that 90% of those planning to buy or sell a home in the next year would make that choice based on a hypothetical scenario where the price of the two homes are identical, along with school quality and safety ratings. The triplex is smaller but the single-family home has a backyard.

But the price premium for single-family homes is showing diverging trends in expensive and affordable inland markets; it is narrowing in expensive markets and growing in affordable inland markets.

Nationwide, the price premium for single-family homes over comparable condos—those with similar square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and location—was 16% in 2019, barely changed from 15% in 2013.

It has generally declined over that time in expensive metros like San Jose (single-family homes sell for 25% more than comparable condos, down from 31% in 2013) and Los Angeles (19% premium, down from 27%). At the same time, price premiums have risen in more affordable areas like Las Vegas (17% premium, up from 10%) and Birmingham (29%, up from 15%).

"Even as we've seen a revival in many urban neighborhoods, the American ideal of a detached home with a white picket fence and a private lawn doesn't appear to be changing—at least for the time being," said Redfin chief economist, Daryl Fairweather. "While some cities and states like Minneapolis and Oregon are aiming to create more affordable multi-family housing options by eliminating single-family zoning, as long as Americans are willing to pay a premium for detached homes, developers are likely to continue building them."


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