The coronavirus pandemic has significantly altered the homebuying process, and now there’s evidence that it’s also impacted how quickly buyers want to seal the deal.
More than half of homebuyers (53%) say they now plan to buy a home within the next year as a result of factors surrounding the pandemic, according to a new survey conducted by online lending marketplace LendingTree.
Between April 24 and April 30, LendingTree enlisted Qualtrics to survey 1,006 prospective homebuyers with a sample base proportioned in line with the general population.
The pandemic has especially spurred first-time homebuyers into action with 73 percent now planning to buy a home within the next year. Likewise, millennials are also now more motivated to buy in a timely fashion, with 66 percent aiming to buy within the next 12 months.
Most buyers cite wanting to take advantage of current low mortgage rates as a specific reason for wanting to buy soon, with 67 percent inspired by this reason. Most other respondents said they plan to buy in the next year because they’ve been able to save more money as a result of reduced spending during quarantine (32 percent) and because home prices have dropped (30 percent) — a factor that can’t necessarily be applied to every region of the country right now.
The coronavirus crisis has moved 44 percent of homebuyers to buy a less expensive home than they had originally planned, compared to 21 percent who said the pandemic has made them want to purchase a more expensive home.
LendingTree’s survey also found that the vast majority of homebuyers have either already toured a home virtually (61 percent) or plan to do so (33 percent). However, only 3 in 10 buyers said they would buy a home without doing a walk-through in-person. Still, among first-time homebuyers, 53 percent said they would buy a home without seeing it in-person. Across gender lines, only 16 percent of women said they’d buy a home without seeing it in-person in contrast to the 43 percent of men who would buy a home sight unseen.
Perhaps as a result of lenders tightening minimum requirements for lending, 44 percent of homebuyers are more concerned about qualifying for a mortgage in the wake of the pandemic. In particular, first-time buyers (58 percent) and millennials (52 percent) are especially worried about qualifying.
Out of those buyers who said they were less likely to buy a home within the next year because of the pandemic, 70 percent said the current economic uncertainty was their main reason for waiting things out. The next most frequently cited reasons for waiting to buy included the inability to see a home in-person (42 percent) and a loss of income as a result of the pandemic (38 percent).