CoronavirusReal Estate

Here come the homebuyers

Pandemic causing people to look for more room — and they've been able to save more too

As a result of shelter-in-place orders across the country, more people are antsy and looking to buy a home this summer. In fact, LendingTree says that 53% of homebuyers are more likely to buy a home in the next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, 27% said their timeline hasn’t changed, and 20% said they are less likely to buy a home in the next year.

The main reason these potential homebuyers say they would be willing to move is to take advantage of the record-low mortgage rates. A whopping 67% said this is their reason.

Just last week, the average U.S. mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.15%, the lowest ever recorded in a Freddie Mac data series that goes back almost five decades.

However, although mortgage rates are at record lows, lenders have become more restrictive on what it takes to qualify. LendingTree said that 44% of homebuyers are more worried about qualifying for a mortgage because of the pandemic. Specifically, 58% of first-time homebuyers and 52% of Millennials said they are especially concerned.

Perhaps mortgages in forbearance and loans in forbearance are a contributing factor behind consumers’ willingness to buy – 32% said they were able to save more money for a down payment due to reduced spending, and another 30% said it’s due to home prices dropping. Another 28% said they would move due to being stuck in their small space for so long.

Because the pandemic has accelerated and required the use of tech in real estate now more than ever, 61% told LendingTree that they have toured a home virtually over the last two months, 33% said they had plans to do so and only 7% said there was no plan to tour a home virtually.

Even though it may look like there are more potential homebuyers out there, out of the 20% that said they are less likely to buy a home, 70% of those homeowners say they don’t think now is the time to move, because of uncertainty due to the pandemic.

And despite the availability of virtual home tours, 42% of hesitant buyers said they won’t buy because of inability to tour a home in person, and 38% said they wouldn’t buy because of loss of income.

But, 53% of first-time buyers said they would buy a house without an in-person tour, while 18% of repeat buyers said they’d do the same.

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