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Has COVID-19 Made Homebuyers More Eager to Buy? The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t seem to be scaring off U.S. home buyers. According to a recent survey done by LendingTree, more than half (53%) of 1006 prospective homebuyers surveyed said they were more likely to buy a home within the next 12 months.
The survey showed that first-time homebuyers (73%) and millennials (66%) may be the most eager to buy within the next year. Motivating factors were the ability to save a larger down payment because of reduced spending (32%) and taking advantage of record-low mortgage rates (67%).
In a recent study from OJO Labs, 200 homebuyers were surveyed who had planned to purchase a house within six months before the COVID-19 outbreak. 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%.
The study also revealed that as more homebuyers are stuck at home, more are realizing they need space to fit their needs. First-time homebuyers said that extra bedrooms (43.5%) and an open floor plan (45.7%) are more important than before COVID-19.
According to those surveyed by Lending Tree, nearly two-thirds (65%) of homebuyers said the pandemic had impacted how much money they plan to spend on a new home. Among the group, 44% plan to buy a less expensive home and the remaining 21% want a more expensive home.
Both reports indicated that the perception of reduced home prices (30%), low mortgage rates, and being confined in a smaller space during stay-at-home orders made homeownership more appealing.
Virtual Tours Have Come Out of The Woodwork
Not only is the pandemic prompting more people to consider homeownership, but it’s also influencing how they shop for a home. Virtual tours, 3D tours, Livestream tours, and even FaceTime tours have come out of the woodwork.
In the Lending Tree survey, 61% of homebuyers said they have virtually toured a home over the last 60 days and another 33% said that although they haven’t yet participated in a virtual tour, they are actually planning to.
The OJO Labs study indicated that virtual tours have become more valuable than prior to COVID-19 for both those delaying (42%) and those expediting (41%) the home buying process. 28% of those delaying the home buying process still report looking at listing photos and 25% are taking virtual tours of homes more now than before COVID-19.
The Impact of Stricter Credit Requirements for Mortgages
The only apparent roadblock for homebuyers was qualifying for a mortgage as 44% surveyed by Lending Tree said they were worried about qualifying due to the pandemic. First-time buyers (58%) and millennials (52%) expressed the most concern as lenders have reportedly tightened credit availability during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) fell by 12.2 percent to 133.5 in April. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. Although less credit access means lenders are likely to raise their minimum credit score and down payment requirements, it doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for a mortgage amid the coronavirus outbreak. You may have to shop a little harder.
It’s recommended to shop at least three lenders to find the best rates and get preapproved for a mortgage before you start looking for homes. Keep in mind that lenders are also grappling with the effects of COVID-19 and the process may move slower than normal.
Homebuying Process During A Pandemic
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Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com