Buying a home during the COVID-19 pandemic has presented both unique challenges and opportunities for potential homeowners in America. The entire relationship between homes and the people who live in them have been severely tested during the COVID-19 pandemic. Never before have we spent so much time in our homes and that is forcing many current and prospective homeowners to re-evaluate what exactly they need from their home or their potential home. Others have embraced on home improvement projects that will enhance their pandemic lifestyle or finally have the time to get to home improvement projects they have been neglecting for years and years.
ImproveNet recently surveyed 2,085 Americans to learn more about their attitudes and preferences related to homeownership and what impact the pandemic has had on the homebuying process. One of the first thing that jumps out from this survey is that almost 80% of people who were surveyed report that the pandemic has either forced or inspired change in their lives that otherwise would not have occurred without the pandemic.
ImproveNet began the survey by asking Americans about their plans to move and change or buy homes during the pandemic. They wanted to see how homebuying trends have been positively or negatively impacted by the pandemic and also how younger generations and first time home buyers have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us take a look into what they found.
Home buying trends during COVID-19
The survey from ImproveNet found that 54% of prospective homebuyers report that their moving and home buying plans have changed during the pandemic. 46% reported no changed in their home buying plans because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those whose buying plans changed during the pandemic, let us examine the reason for why they changed. 30% of reported that their plans to buy a home have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those 18% said they were planning to buy and will now buy a home sooner. 12% said they were not planning to buy, but now they are planning to buy a home. 24% of those surveyed said they were initially planning to buy, but their plans have slowed or are now completely on hold because of the pandemic.
Moving plans changed during COVID-19
Not only did the survey from ImproveNet survey potential homebuyers but also asked people about their plan to move or relocate during the COVID-19 pandemic. 42% of Americans who were surveyed by ImproveNet said that their plant to move during the pandemic did not change. Of those who reported that their plans had changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 22% said they were planning to move, but their plans have slowed or are now on hold. 19% said that they were not planning to move but have already moved or will soon. 17% of those surveyed said they were planning to move and that their plans to move will happen sooner now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on saving for a home
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a stress on many American’s finances over the past year. Between layoffs, pay reductions and furloughs many have had their savings plans for large purchases like a home be impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey from ImproveNet found that 72% of young homebuyers (Millennials and Gen Zers) reported having their savings plans disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Across all generations the numbers are similar. 70% of those who were planning to purchase a home said that their savings plans were also disrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Optimism for the housing market in America
All the news from the survey from ImproveNet is not necessarily bad news. Many young home buyers are also optimistic about the opportunity to buy a new home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over half (54%) of younger home buyers (Millennials and Gen Z again) say that they are currently more motivated than ever to purchase their first home, and that is a direct result of how their situation has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This optimism also spans across all generations with over half (52% to be exact) reported a rising interest in certain types of homes and locations since the COVID-19 pandemic began over a year ago.
Home buying factors that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
The next part of the survey from ImproveNet asked about how priorities have changed for new homes and what people value more because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Listed below are the top factors that new home buyers are looking for when searching for a home during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Access to nature (74%)
2. Proximity to family (70%)
3. Access to indoor space (70%)
4. Access to outdoor space (65%)
5. Location of the home in the city, suburbs, or exurbs (58%)
6. Having the home be in the part of the country that I currently live in (58%)
7. Access to culture in my community (54%)
ImproveNet also asked surveyed respondents about what they would prioritize improving first in the current home that they live in. They wanted to see if American’s were prioritizing office space the most because of everyone working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Listed below are the top ways that American’s feel that their home could support them better than it currently is:
1. I wish I had a better space for exercising at home (64%)
2. I wish I had a better space for the hobbies I enjoy at home (62%)
3. I wish I had more or a better space for cooking in my home (59%)
4. I wish I had a better space for working remotely (57%)
As you can see, contrary to popular belief, more space for work at home is not what Americans are prioritizing most when upgrading their current home. The last part of the analysis asked Americans about if they prefer city or suburban living more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They found that 36% of city residents say they value suburban living more than they did before the pandemic.
Infographic by: improvenet