Location is the top feature when Pennsylvania home buyers choose a house, according to a recent Welcome Home survey conducted for the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®.
“Thirty-seven percent of buyers said location was the primary reason they picked their house,’’ said Laurie Hensel, president of Fayette Board of REALTORS® and a realtor for Donna J. Evans Realty in Connellsville. “Whether it’s being close to family or their job or they like a nearby park, location remains the key.’’
This factor is reflected in the local market.
“Location is a very big part of their decision,’’ said Scott Cavinee, broker of record for SWC Realty, which has offices in Uniontown, Connellsville, Waynesburg, Washington, Williamsport and Lockhaven in Pennsylvania and Marietta in Ohio. “Very rarely do we get a buyer who says — ‘I don’t care — anywhere within a 20-mile radius of Uniontown.’’’
Hensel explained home buyers include Millennials who are buying up — either renting or have a starter house — while Baby Boomers are looking to downsize to a smaller or one-story home.
So location can mean different things to different generations.
“For Millennials, it would be a combination of work and school,’’ said Hensel.
But while most people like living nearby their job, both Hensel and Cavinee said there are local homeowners who are willing to travel to Pittsburgh and Morgantown for employment.
Cavinee talked about someone he knows who travels to Pittsburgh twice a week to the office of his employer while working the rest of the week from home.
But that makes access to the internet important.
“Internet availability is huge in location,’’ said Cavinee.
That feature preference goes for the young in general.
Cavinee pointed out, “Millennials want to be close to good WiFi and internet. If a home is in a location that doesn’t offer good WiFi or internet, they tend to stay away.’’
Schools are important to Millennials who are raising families.
“They’ve already picked the area — usually close to work,’’ said Hensel. “Then they make the radius smaller, to a school district.’’
Cavinee agreed: “They are making sure it’s a district they want to be in.’’
Recreation is also a feature Millennials prefer.
“They want to be close to parks and trails,’’ noted Cavinee.
“They want to be able to do something with the family. If they have small kids, they can go to a park,’’ said Hensel. “Everybody’s different, but some families want to be out, go for a walk and let their kids play more often than they might visit a store.’’
Could be because so many Millennials shop on line, adding another reason to have internet access.
Older home buyers, however, do like the convenience of having stores nearby.
“For older buyers, being near church, family and shopping is important,’’ said Cavinee.
Choosing a location near family is a top factor for many home buyers, regardless of their generation.
Both Hensel and Cavinee see grown children moving closer to their parents. This is so their parents can help with child care and so the grown children can be a help to their older parents.
And many people choose to stay in the area because they like it. The district is in proximity to large cities but without the traffic and higher cost of living.
“I think more people appreciate being closer to a metropolitan area,’’ said Cavinee, “than actually living in it.’’
The region also boasts many admirable features.
“There’s lots of history in our area. I think outsiders appreciate it more than those who are raised here. We take it for granted,’’ said Hensel.
There’s also hike and bike trails, a variety of parks, including whitewater rafting at Ohiopyle; theaters and restaurants as well as Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes and the Great Cross of Christ at Jumonville.
That’s not to mention landscapes that are attractive and soothing.
Like Hensel, Cavinee agreed: “Fayette County is absolutely beautiful.’’