COVID-19 & Homebuyers

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As COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our communities, many are wondering what it means for the housing market.  Homebuying demand is 5.5% higher than it was pre-pandemic:  According to Redfin, homebuying demand has had a roaring comeback. In fact, it is now 5.5% higher than it was pre-pandemic. This demand has pushed median list prices up 5% and inventory is increasing, but can’t keep up.  The above graph shows the bounce back in demand. Many believe this is fueled by low-interest rates, loosening of stay at home orders, and a sense of security.  Buyers needs and wants have changed: While buyers may be back to pre-COVID demand, their needs have changed. MaryDell Penney, Redfin Market Manager in Central Florida, said, “Pre-COVID people wanted a beautiful open floor plan. After a few months in quarantine, buyers want quiet spaces where they can actually get away from everyone else and dedicated space for school and work.”  Homebuyer Predictions: The floor plan isn’t the only change realtors expect to see. In a recent survey conducted by Coldwell Banker, most agents predicted a shift in buyer behavior. Of the respondents, 41% predicted more people would seek out homes with space for an office, 26% predict buyers will have an increased interest in rural areas, and 24% predict buyers will look for homes with private outdoor spaces.  The results also suggested an increased interest in suburbs, home walkability, and space for a personal gym.  Inman echoed these predictions by listing the following four trends to watch out for in the coming months: 

  1. Less Dense Living: Homebuyers will prefer single-family homes with a private outdoor area over a condo/apartment/co-op living space
  2. Functional Spaces: Homebuyers will search for homes with a flexible floor plan that offers things like; bonus rooms, office space, second master suites, guest quarters, third car garages, etc. that could be utilized for different purposes.
  3. Amenities: Spending more time at home will make homebuyers list vacation-like amenities as a need. Inman predicts homes with amenities like; backyard kitchens, pools, sports courts, home gyms, etc. will receive more action. 
  4. Location: Properties that offer people the ability to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle in opportune climates will likely become on-trend.
The move to smaller towns: Some of these predictions are already manifesting—namely, the great exodus to smaller towns, suburbs, and rural areas. Redfin saw a 105% surge in pageview for small-town homes.  “During the first month of the pandemic, interest in rural areas skyrocketed while interest in cities fell, with many urbanites dreaming of packing up and heading for the hills,” said Redfin lead economist Taylor Marr. “Some of that boost in rural areas proved to be temporary, but it appears to be more sustainable in small towns, which may be a more realistic option for those looking to work from home primarily or commute into the office once or twice a week.” Stay Safe & Stay Healthy While life is not back to “normal,” a return in demand, breaths hope into the housing market. We hope you are all staying safe and healthy. We are proud to serve our communities during this time. To all of those on the front line, THANK YOU from the Pioneer Family.    Read more at these sources: Homebuying Demand Passes Prepandemic Levels House Hunters’ Hunger for Small Towns Continues to Soar What will Homebuyers Want Post COVID-19? Could COVID-19 Change Homebuyers Preferences?