You’re not the only one shopping for a new home due to COVID
When the pandemic reared its ugly head in the second quarter of 2020, potential homebuyers hit the ‘pause’ button on their plans to move. Like most everyone else, they took a wait-and-see approach to the months ahead.
Now those months have passed, and people are starting to move again. By many accounts, the real estate market is booming, with home prices reaching all-time highs. What real estate trends are behind homebuyers’ sudden urge to move? Low mortgage rates are one reason. Another factor is COVID itself. That is, the reason nobody moved months ago is now a driving force behind homebuyers’ decisions to find a new home.
The pandemic has caused massive changes in how we work and socialize, impacts that spill over and affect where people work and live. Since the pandemic began, a lot of people have moved. In fact, nearly a fifth of U.S. adults moved due to COVID-19 or know someone who did, according to a PEW Research Center report. Not all those people were buying new homes. According to the report, most people who moved were relocating to a family members’ home.
Still, for those who have decided to buy a new home, the pandemic has been a key influence. A survey conducted by mortgage broker Redfin found that 25% of respondents who were planning to buy a home in the next 12 months had made the decision to move or accelerate their timeline for moving as a result of COVID.
More space to work and play
Many people, once they began working remotely, realized they needed space for a dedicated home office. At the same time, potential homebuyers became interested in properties with backyards, where they can be outside and remain socially distant from their neighbors. “The coronavirus has made spacious homes in the suburbs more attractive, while creating new motivations for renters who would prefer the privacy and certainty of owning,” according to a report from HomeLight that surveyed homebuyers on their motivations for moving.
So it’s no surprise that home prices have gone up in rural areas, as homebuyers look to relocate from densely populated cities. The big question, for some economists, is whether these real estate trends are short-term or if they’re here to stay.