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CoronavirusReal Estate

How COVID-19 has changed the mind of potential homebuyers

Some are worried about the job market, others want more space

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.

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