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The fun thing about real estate is that there’s always something new to see on the market because trends are constantly changing and evolving. Case in point, one of our newest luxury listings, 2 Narbonne in Newport Beach.

Listed by Jason Bradshaw, this Newport Beach abode is its own work of abstract art that has us absolutely enwrapped and obsessed. The custom 7,500 square foot English Manor has style, drama, and an aura of cool that cannot be denied.

This trendy luxury Newport estate has us wondering – are buyers getting trendy with it or are they sticking with what’s tried and true?

The Whims of Homebuyers

To answer our burning questions about what’s trending among home buyers, we went to our agents who spend their days observing homebuyers in their natural habitat of open houses and walk through showings.

This or That – What are buyers buying?

67%: Go to granite counter tops

33% Concrete counters

104 Blue Lagoon, Laguna Beach

Granite counter tops in the kitchen have been a buyer preference for years and the experts say buyers are sticking with what’s tried and true in this case. The durable, luxe kitchen upgrade is one buyers have been drawn to in the past and will be searching for in 2016 as well.

80%: Outdoor kitchen

20%: Pool

17 Premiere Point, Newport Coast

Looks like buyers are gravitating toward outdoor kitchens more than pools. Requiring less maintenance and getting more use, it makes sense outdoor kitchens are becoming so trendy – especially here in SoCal.

87%: Neutral

13%: Color pops

227 Jasmine Avenue, Corona Del Mar

Neutral tones may be on the tame side, but their popularity shows that buyers appreciate a blank canvas when they see one.

“Paint color can throw buyers off,” says Gina Cerchio from our San Clemente office.  “They may see a whole house with interior colors that they don’t like, and just move on to the next house. The client sees more work, and money to change the color, even though this could be an easy fix that the seller can handle. Neutral tones and white lets the buyer imagine themselves in the home easier.”

87%: Matte tones

13%: Metallics

Metallics may be all the rage on Pinterest but today’s buyers aren’t looking for flashy interior fashion when searching for a new home.

79%: Minimalist

21%: Mason jars & country flair

32 Shoreridge, Newport Coast

Minimalist designs are based on this main principle of style – to enhance the visual impression of the a room or space, turning a home into a luxury space free of clutter. It’s no surprise homebuyers gravitate toward minimalist homes since clutter-free spaces appear lighter, brighter and larger.

80%: Kitchen Island

20%: Breakfast Bar

The kitchen islands have it according to our agents. No need to choose between the two, however, because at 2 Narbonne in Newport – you get both.

100%: Open Concept

17 Calle Ameno, San Clemente

We asked our agents if buyers prefer formal dining rooms or open concept homes and it’s unanimous – today’s buyers want open concept homes. “Buyers want an open concept kitchen no if, ands, or buts,” says Qierre McGlory, Anaheim Hills First Team agent.

79%: Location

21%: Square footage

16 Le Conte, Laguna Niguel

“Location is and will always be the biggest feature sellers and buyers will be drawn to,” according to McGlory.  “When it comes to location, you cannot fix, change, alter, or replace it.”

Lucky for us in Southern California, the location is always prime no matter where exactly you decide the settle.

67%: Home amenities

33%: Neighborhoods amenities

32 Shoreridge, Newport Coast

“More buyers are now empty nesters, and prefer home amenities over neighborhood amenities,” says Thomas Lynch, San Clemente real estate agent. According to NAR’s 2015 Home Buyer and Seller Trends report, 31% of buyers are Baby Boomers, or empty nesters as Lynch pointed out, and they aren’t looking for family neighborhood amenities, they’re more interested in homes with their own upgrades and perks. Young families with children on the other hand are those drawn to neighborhood amenities like parks and pools.

For 35% of homebuyers with children however, good schools are often the number one determining factor when it comes time to purchasing a home.  Also, staying close to family and friends is high on the priority list, closely followed by proximity to work and community amenities.

Millennial Mindset

According to McGlory, we are seeing a whole new way of thinking and trends coming from the largest growing subset of homebuyers – Millennials. “When it comes to Millennials, they are more eco-friendly and are looking to be able to grow their own food and energy efficient features.”

Things like indoor gardens, wall gardens and indoor/outdoor amenities ranging from outdoor pizza ovens to rooftop decks with fireplaces also appeal to Millennials and their affinity for blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces in the home.

Jonesing for a Sale

While sellers aren’t picking and choosing home designs and amenities, they do have some choices to make when it comes to their sale. That’s why we asked our agents what seller preferences they’ve witnessed to get down to what trends we can expect to see from home sellers in 2016.

So the question is – What’s more important?

53% Curb appeal

47% Staging

22 Cypress Point, Newport Beach

 It looks like sellers know that both curb appeal and staging are a must when it comes to a home sale.

67%: Closing Timeline

33%: Contingencies

Sellers are most concerned with closing on time and price of home. That means the best way for buyers to sweeten the deal when putting in an offer is with a flexible close date or a competitive price.

53%: Remodels

47%: Home Repairs

Our agents are nearly split down the middle on their evaluation of sellers and the importance of remodels and home repairs. To get the best price for your home, many sellers realize that may require remodels, home repairs or both.

If you plan to buy or sell in 2016, work with a First Team agent who understands the market trends and is prepared to help you achieve your real estate goals. Search for an agent near you on our site or call or email and we’ll match you with an expert in your neighborhood.

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