The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled new behaviors from social distancing to fewer trips to the grocery store. For many homebuyers, the pandemic has compelled something else: an intensified home search.
According to a recent survey by real estate brokerage firm Redfin, 25 percent of homebuyers say the pandemic has caused them to move and/or speed up their moving timeline.
“Somewhat counterintuitively, the coronavirus-driven recession is propping up the housing market,” Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather says. “Homebuyer demand is surging… largely because Americans value the home more than ever and are willing to prioritize housing.”
Fueling the Acceleration
According to industry analysts, the urgent motivation to buy is being driven by two significant factors: record-low interest rates and a swelling desire for more space.
As the Fed has adopted low interest rates to stimulate the economy, prospective homebuyers have gained added purchasing power. Current interest rates on a 30-year mortgage continue hovering near 3 percent, a historically low floor which translates into substantial monthly savings for buyers and altering their budget. Of those Redfin survey respondents accelerating their moving timeline, 55 percent said low mortgage rates were influencing their plans.
The pandemic has also forced many to re-evaluate their current living situation, a process that has led many to seek more space, both inside and out. This includes defined areas for work, such as a study or office, as well as added room for recreation, including home fitness or children’s play.
New construction, in particular, is generating heightened interest from buyers. Dwindling resale inventory, enhanced purchasing power thanks to lower rates, and the appeal of a never-before-lived-in home are bringing buyers to Gallagher and Henry, which offers large suburban lots, an assortment of distinctive home plans, and the ability for buyers to customize home plans to their needs. With new construction, buyers can also avoid bidding wars for resale properties and enjoy a thoughtful, guided experience that includes coordinating interior and exterior selections.
What Buyers Want
While the pandemic has accelerated homebuyers’ timelines, it has also changed their wish lists as well. In fact, 75 percent of respondents to the Redfin survey said the impact had altered their homebuying plans and preferences.
• 21% want a designated space to work from home
• 23% want more outdoor or recreational space
• 13% want a home with a bigger yard
• 10% want a bigger home
• 9% want a different type of home
One out of seven buyers, meanwhile, have moved their home search to a different area, many focusing in on suburban communities, which are seeing soaring interest compared to their urban counterparts.
With single-family home sites currently available in eight different communities, Gallagher and Henry offers homebuyers added space and the ability to land a home that suits their precise needs and wishes.