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Coronavirus, Making a House a Home

How is COVID-19 Impacting Homebuyer Preferences?

Despite anxiety over the economic conditions caused by the pandemic, a recent Homes.com survey shows that desired home features and search processes are changing, but homeownership aspiration remains firm.

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Buyers Want Dedicated Spaces for Work and Education

As we shared in the New Must-Haves of Homebuyers, homebuyers are feeling more comfortable buying homes in the pandemic, but their wants and needs are shifting. Over 40% of respondents in the Homes.com survey shared that COVID-19 has changed the features they want in a home.  What tops the list? No surprise – adding a home office space and larger square footage. With more time spent at home now, enclosed backyards and closed floor plans are also priorities. These shifts clearly reflect the realities of today’s work-from-home and e-learning needs for families. 

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Homebuying Budgets are Surprisingly Stable 

With the increased desire for more space, it comes as no shock that detached, single-family homes still reign the supreme choice for buyers, but condominiums and townhouses follow closely behind. In order to secure a larger footprint in the current seller’s market, budgets have to be competitive; however, economic conditions certainly don’t seem to be a deterrent to buyers. An overwhelming 80% of survey respondents reported that their homebuying budgets have either remained the same or increased since the start of the pandemic.

Buyers Want Space – Both Inside and Outside the Home

Why are buyers making the move during such a challenging time? More people indicated they were moving because they wanted a less populated area than moving for a job, retirement, or wanting a better school system for their children. These insights support that many city dwellers are looking to move to rural areas due to work-from-home situations reducing the need to live nearby employment offices.

Home Searches are More Virtual than Ever Before

Not only are features changing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but so are search behaviors.  Over half of respondents planning to purchase a home before the end of the year have used virtual tours in their search, with roughly one-third having viewed 1-3 homes and one-fourth viewing 11+ homes through virtual tools. A third of those who have purchased since the pandemic began also utilized these live video tours or virtual open houses for their search. With virtual tour content included on thousands of listings, Homes.com saw over 334,000 engagements in the month of June alone.

Younger Americans are Still Committed to the American Dream

Coronavirus is driving more young people to move than they have in years, but not all of them are moving back in with Mom and Dad. In the same Homes.com survey, 33% of those who have purchased or plan to purchase a home are aged 18-34, supporting earlier Homes.com surveys indicating that Gen Z is highly committed to early homeownership

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Smarter Home Searching

Homebuying is a complex process, especially in the midst of a pandemic. That’s why we’ve assembled a COVID-19 resource page to answer any questions you might have while navigating this challenging time. Be sure to keep checking back for new information and updated reports. Happy homebuying!

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Audrey is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Homes.com, with a master's degree in strategic communication. A lifelong arts aficionado, she's also a part-time dance teacher in Virginia Beach. Wife to aerospace engineer Ryan and fur-mom to rescue pup Lucy, she's the self-declared World's Greatest Pizza Lover who lives for chocolate and a sunshine-filled day at the beach.

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