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Survey: Pandemic Accelerating Prospective Buyers’ Timelines

New Home Sales

A survey from realtor.com found more than 40% accelerated their timeline due to COVID-19.

The survey also reported that nearly two-thirds of prospective buyers were able to save more money for their down payment due to shelter-in-place orders, despite historic unemployment levels. Additionally, the share of buyers looking for move-in ready homes is up 10% since spring.

According to the survey, 41% of buyers said they are looking to buy sooner because of the pandemic, with 44% said COVID-19 had no impact and 15% saying they have slowed their purchase timeline.

“The COVID pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of American life. How we live and work has changed dramatically, unemployment went from record lows to historic highs in weeks and the U.S. economy is in a recession following the longest expansion in history,” said realtor.com Senior Economist, George Ratiu. “While the health and economic impact has been significant, the U.S. housing market has remained surprisingly resilient, and consumers continue to view homeownership as the foundation of the American Dream.

“Homebuyers remain steadfast in the main attributes they seek—three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a garage. However, the quarantine has made people rethink where and why they want a new home.”

Three-quarters of prospective buyers said the pandemic has impacted their home search, most helping them look for larger homes in different neighborhoods. The same number of buyers are using lower mortgage rates to get into more expensive homes or pocket the savings by decreasing their monthly mortgage budget.

Home shoppers are also willing to live farther away from work to find the right house, with 9% of respondents said they are willing to commute over an hour—an increase from the spring’s 3% figure.

The survey found 65% of buyers are looking for homes priced under $350,000, which is just above the national average of $342,000 in June.

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.
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