The aim of this paper is to investigate consumers’ preferences in the real estate industry, especially in the residential field, in order to provide a contribution to the strategic planning and positioning of real estate enterprises. The existing literature highlighted some specific characteristics of the building product and their role in housing choice. This paper explores the house attributes through a qualitative research carried out by the use of some semi-structured interviews in three focus groups and, in a second phase, by the laddering method. We have chosen three categories of potential purchasers according their age: less than 30 years (20-30), between 30 and 40, and over 40. In this way we describe the different paths taken in choosing the ideal home, and the attributes, benefits and values that explain each personality. The discussion contents have been elaborated in order to obtain three different hierarchical value maps, by which the existing links are represented. Common traits in some cases and different characteristics in others emerged, providing interesting insights into the purchasing drivers, the positioning of firms and also some inputs for further analysis.
Keywords: Construction sector, house, housing preferences, building products, values.