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How Has COVID-19 Changed Homebuyers’ Needs?

The housing market has had a surprisingly successful year in 2020, overcoming many challenges that COVID-19 has caused. However, the coronavirus pandemic has led those who are on the market for a home to look for different things in the homebuying process.

Realtor.com breaks down some of the significant shifts in homebuyers’ needs due to COVID-19—needs that may have a lasting impact on what people will expect from their homes and the home purchasing experience for years after the pandemic has subsided. 

One of the biggest changes in what consumers are looking for in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic is a growing interest in living in the suburbs. According to realtor.com, “in the nation's largest metropolitan areas, shoppers were spending more time checking out suburban listings than homes near the city center,” when searching for homes this year. 

With more people working remotely to avoid the risk of spreading COVID-19, there is less need to live near major city hubs. More Americans can work from anywhere, and it is likely that remote work will continue to be an option for many people even after a coronavirus vaccine is available for mass distribution. 

Another notable change that has occurred this year is the growing utilization of technology in the home search and home purchasing processes. Tech resources were already being used by homebuyers before the pandemic, but their importance has become even more vital for consumers this year. 

According to realtor.com, some homebuyers become open to the idea of purchasing a home without seeing it in person first. This has been made easier through the use of digital home tours. Consumers now have more ways of finding home loan options online and submitting mortgage paperwork online as well. Homebuyers will likely continue to turn to these digital tools in the future. 

Homebuyers also are also prioritizing square footage while scouting for properties. Realtor.com says that millennials, who are at the peak time in their lives for buying homes, are generally looking for homes with more space such as a home office, as many have grown accustomed to working from home. In fact, realtor.com reports that “homes with a home office sell faster, and for more money,” than homes that lack an office area.

Lastly, more people are looking for high-tech features in their homes. Realtor.com says homeowners can use “smart, touchless options for faucets, lights, and locks” to avoid handling surfaces that are likely to have germs. MReport previously wrote about a survey from realtor.com that shows Americans’ growing interest in smart home technology. This trend is sure to continue for years to come.

About Author: Cristin Espinosa

Cristin Espinosa is a reporter for DS News and MReport. She graduated from Southern Methodist University where she worked as an editor and later as a digital media producer for The Daily Campus. She has a broadcast background as well, serving as a producer for SMU-TV. She wrote for the food section during her fellowship at The Dallas Morning News and has also contributed to Advocate Magazine and The Dallas Observer.
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