The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted countless lives, jobs, and businesses throughout the world, one of the biggest being the real estate industry. Recently, a company known as OJO Labs performed a study to specifically measure how intense the impact has been on the housing market as a means of gaining more insight into how buyers are reacting to this pandemic.
One of the biggest things the study found was that nearly 80% of all potential buyers have either delayed their search for a new home or have just stopped it all together. This is one of the larger percentages in the study, and also one of the least surprising results, as it’s hard for potential buyers to want to invest in a property that they can’t even go see; depending on the place and situation.
60% of those surveyed said their main concerns had to do with the uncertainty of their own employment, and 54% said their issue had more to do with the not being able to see it aspect.
“Those who did pause typically did either because they had an unforeseen circumstance, like job loss or furlough, or are halting their search due to a general fear of the unknown. Once consumers’ situations change, and we return to a semblance of normal, they’ll be ready to move forward again,” sai Chris Heller, Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs.
However, despite the results and these valid concerns, the study did show that buyers were still very much interested in investing in a new property, it’s just more of a matter of being able to now. Those who said they delayed their searches claim to still be looking at listings, just with a more casual attitude at the moment.
Specifically, 28% of buyers say they’re still looking at listing photos and 25% reported that they were taking virtual tours of the properties, a trend that’s been keeping many real estate businesses alive. Surprisingly, 30% of those surveyed reported that they were looking at listings even more so now that there’s a pandemic going on, because they assume homeowners would be more motivated to sell.
Out of that 30%, however, only 20% said that they were actually making moves to accelerate their home-buying process in light of the virus. Heller’s main piece of advice for those trying to expedite their purchase is to make sure you’re with an experienced agent who knows how to navigate negotiating a contract through special circumstances; while no real estate agent has specific pandemic experience, real professionals will know how to make the process as smooth as possible given all the circumstances.
In terms of what buyers are specifically looking for in potential homes, Heller claims that the “criteria that they once considered wants – like a home office – may turn into needs as a result of COVID-19. As the remote work trend continues beyond COVID-19, home location, and commute times, which are a driving force for buyers, will play a less important role in the home search for some buyers. Instead, they’ll prioritize different preferences like neighborhoods, communities, and lifestyle.”
It’s no surprise that like every other industry in the world right now, Covid-19 has shaken up the way things have run. However, it still seems as though those who are motivated and determined to move can still do so safely as long as they have the proper resources and individuals around to guide them. So while it’s easy to get discouraged during a worldwide pandemic, it’s also important to remember the aspects of normal life that are still working.