In earlier times, a pandemic + recession would have slowed the market, but today’s unique circumstances seem to have sparked an even stronger demand for homeownership.
Three-quarters of homebuyers who plan to buy a home within the next 12 months say the coronavirus pandemic has impacted their homebuying plans – and one in four (25%) says it caused them to move faster or speed up their timeline.
However, one in five (20%) say they’ve postponed homeownership, and 17% are now looking at less expensive homes, according to a survey conducted by Redfin.
“Somewhat counterintuitively, the coronavirus-driven recession is propping up the housing market,” says Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. He says homebuyer demand surged in the second quarter of 2020 even though GDP took a nosedive.
“Americans value the home more than ever and are willing to prioritize housing even as they cut back on other expenses,” says Fairweather. “Additionally, the Fed is using low interest rates to stimulate the economy, which is giving buyers more purchasing power and boosting home sales. But even with low rates, widespread unemployment and financial uncertainty mean not everyone who wants to buy a home is able to” do so.
The pandemic’s most common homebuyer impact is a desire for more space: 21% of respondents want a designated area to work from home and 21% want more outdoor space; in addition, 10% of respondents now want a bigger home, and 7% want a designated space for children to learn from home.
“When the pandemic first hit, a few buyers canceled contracts due to economic uncertainty and concerns about potential layoffs,” says Phoenix Redfin agent Thomas Wiederstein. “I’ve also had some clients take breaks from searching because they don’t know how the economic situation is going to play out.
But then there’s the other side,” says Wiederstein, “those who are encouraged by low mortgage rates, sitting around in their tiny apartment dreaming of the space a single-family home can offer.”
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