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Young Americans Want Homes Like Parents'

January 19, 1986|DAVID M. KINCHEN | Times Staff Writer

DALLAS — Despite all the talk about how different they are from their parents, the overwhelming majority of young Americans who plan to purchase their first house within three to five years would like to buy the type of house in which most of them were reared: a three-bedroom, single-family detached house in the suburbs.

That is one of the findings from "Homestyle: The Next Generation," a study commissioned by Carole Eichen Interiors Inc., Santa Ana, released at the annual convention/exposition of the National Assn. of Home Builders under way here.

The poll of 752 prospective home buyers, conducted by Impulse Research Corp., Los Angeles, revealed that 73% anticipated buying a single-family detached house, 21% plan on buying a condominium aor town house and the remaining 6% expect to buy a manufactured home or another kind of housing.

To the extent that young Americans want to live like their parents, they are "modern traditionalists," Eichen said. "In an economic sense, these young consumers, who anticipate spending only $895 per month, on a nationwide average, for a traditional house, are somewhat naive about the costs of housing," she added.

She suggested that the housing industry needs to analyze what tomorrow's home buyer wants, how much he or she is willing to pay and show buyers what alternative product will meet their needs while being more "financially reasonable."

Investment (72%), security (65%) and tax reasons (61%) are the three major reasons for buying a house, according to the survey. Investment was the main reason with every type of future home buyer, male or female, at all income levels and in all regions.

The smallest anticipated monthly outlay ($746) is expected in the North Central region of the nation, the study shows, while the South Atlantic/East South Central ($760), West South Central/Mountain ($791), and New England/Mid Atlantic ($985) occupy the middle ground.

Not surprisingly, the Pacific region--characterized by the nation's highest housing costs--is also marked by the highest anticipated monthly payment of $1,078. This amount is still well below the real costs of buying a house.

Surprisingly, only 31% of those in the West rank outdoor living space--a terrace, yard or balcony--as the most attractive feature in choosing a new home. Perhaps Westerners are spoiled by generally mild year-round weather. On the other hand, frost-bitten prospective buyers in the New England/Mid Atlantic states rank this feature much higher, at 46%.

A fireplace--popular in many relatively modest new houses in California--is considered an attractive feature by only 8.9% of those in New England/Mid Atlantic, contrasted with 15.7% for those in the Pacific states.

Fireplaces finished fourth nationwide as an important feature, behind a terrace/yard/balcony, quality touches such as tile and wood moldings and a laundry area with a washer and dryer, according to the survey.

The size of the desired house on a national average came to 1,626 square feet, with houses on both coasts smaller (1,553 in the East and 1,614 in the West), and houses in the middle of the country and the mountain regions running as large as 1,757 square feet.

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