New Study Explores How Coronavirus Has Impacted Buyers In The Real Estate Market

Forbes | Tara Mastroeni

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No one is denying that the spread of coronavirus has had a profound impact on buyer confidence in the real estate industry. However, a new study by OJO Labs shows just how widespread that impact has been. Read on below to gain insight on how buyer’s are coping in this new climate.


The study found that 80% of would-be-buyers have either delayed their housing search or stopped it altogether


In all, the reasoning behind these delays is pretty unsurprising. 60% of those surveyed cited concerns over their future employment prospects and 54% talked about the inability to see homes in person as a main driver for their hesitance to buy in this market.


When asked what may need to happen in order for buyers to regain confidence in their ability to purchase a home, Chris Heller, Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs had this to say:


“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.”


Despite what the numbers suggest, it seems like many buyers still want to buy


For their part, the study found that those who are delaying their search are largely still looking at available listings. 28% still report looking at listing photos and 25% reported taking video tours. In fact, 30% reported looking at available listings more often than before their search was impacted by coronavirus.


On the other hand, 20% of buyers reported actually expediting their home-buying timeline in light of the virus, citing low interest rates and the potential to get a good deal on a home as their main motivation. Though, notably, a vast majority (74%) of those speeding up the process are repeat buyers.


To those buyers, Heller advises finding an experienced real estate agent, who can help guide them through this unprecedented climate.


As for how coronavirus has changed buyer expectations, the study finds that buyers are putting new emphasis on searching for better common spaces


Buyers reported that the following aspects held more important to them in light of the virus:


Extra bedrooms (43.5%)

Open floor plan (45.7%)

Good lighting (45.7%)

Kitchen style (50%)


On these changes, Heller says:


“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.”


Overall, there’s no denying that it will take some time to see just how severely this virus will impact buyers. However, this study seems to make one thing clear. Though, buyers are being cautious, the drive to own a home is still alive and well.

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