How COVID-19 has changed the mind of potential homebuyers
Source: Housing Wire | Julia Falcon
Despite the uncertainties of the current pandemic, some people are still shopping around for homes.
A new study from OJO Labs surveyed 200 homebuyers who had planned to purchase a house within six months before the outbreak of COVID-19 and found that “the virus has amplified many of the existing difficulties along the home-buying journey and made apparent the value of both technology and human expertise.”
From the survey, 45.6% of shoppers said they are motivated to expedite their moving timeline because they think they’ll get a good deal on a home, while low-interest rates are a major factor for 56.5%. But social distancing and the ability to bounce back in the job market was a huge factor for these potential homebuyers.
Eighty percent of those surveyed said their moving timeline has been delayed or stopped altogether, while 60% of first-time homebuyers say they are concerned about future employment prospects and 54% said the inability to see homes in person is a factor.
As more homebuyers are stuck at home, more are realizing they need space to fit their needs.
First-time homebuyers in the survey who are expediting the process think extra bedrooms (43.5%) and an open floor plan (45.7%) are more important than before COVID-19.
Even though there are still potential homebuyers out there, new listings dropped an average of 63% in the earliest, hardest-hit markets, OJO said.
And due to social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines, OJO said that open houses have declined 82% lower than the March peak.
Virtual tours, 3D tours, livestream tours and even FaceTime tours have come out of the woodwork, showing the eagerness of agents. OJO said that 28% of those delaying the process still report looking at listing photos and 25% are taking virtual tours of homes more now than before COVID-19.
In fact, 41% said there was an increase in remote communication with agents – whether it’s Zoom, Skype or FaceTime – while 32.6% said they still met with agents in person.
Virtual tours are more valuable than prior to COVID-19 for both those delaying (42%) and expediting (41%) the process.