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Changing Expectations for Homebuyers

While COVID-19 might have heightened the heart’s affinity for the home, the pandemic has also placed new emphasis on what people expect of their residences, according to Point2homes. 

Additional space and outdoor amenities are still highly in demand. Are homebuyers compromising on their housing wish lists amid continuing economic uncertainty? 

Last year’s Point2homes analysis of the most popular keywords, features, and amenities showed that, regardless of the price tag, granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, and hardwood floors topped the list of desired features. 

Now, while those amenities maintain a special place in the hearts of home seekers, interest in them is taking a back seat to square footage and living space, floor plan design, and outdoor home features. 

That said, sweeping changes like those aren’t made by all homebuyers. For many first-time and repeat buyers, for example, affordability is a higher priority. More cautious buyers in certain areas have an eye out for less expensive, smaller properties. 

Searches for homes under 1,000 square feet in cities such as Houston, Columbus, Charlotte, and Seattle have spiked, while interest in properties with at least three bedrooms and more bathrooms also has increased. 

The work-from-home requirements spawned by the pandemic could significantly reverberate throughout homebuying over the coming year, data from another recent industry survey suggests.

A June poll of 2,000 potential shoppers who indicated plans to purchase a home in the next year, 63% of those currently working from home stated their potential purchase stemmed from their ability to work remotely, while a home office was the most popular feature in the next residence of more than 20% of respondents who are buying due to remote work. A garage, quiet location, an updated kitchen, large backyard and an open floor plan followed in popularity.

"The ability to work remotely is expanding home shoppers' geographic options and driving their motivation to buy, even if it means a longer commute, at least in the short term," said Realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu. Although it's too early to tell what long-term impact the COVID-era of remote work will have on housing, it's clear that the pandemic is shaping how people live and work under the same roof, he continued. 

About Author: Chuck Green

Chuck Green has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and others covering various industries, including real estate, business and banking, technology, and sports

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