Americans On the Move: What’s Motivating Moves in Today’s Pandemic Climate
Survey Says: Nearly Half of Americans are Considering a Move
A new LendingTree survey found that almost half of Americans are thinking of moving in the very near future. Based on the responses of more than 2,000 participants Lending Tree’s survey found that 46 % of Americans are thinking about moving in the next year. Of those considering a move more than a quarter (27%) want to stay in the area they currently reside.
Forty four percent of those who said they are considering a move said the main reason behind their anticipated move is a desire to reduce living expenses. Record breaking unemployment- with over 11 million Americans still jobless, has adversely affected the finances of many Americans. Many Americans have already changed their living situations by moving in with family or friends or having family or live with them.
Homelife is Life
Working and learning from home came into the forefront in everyone’s lives, and many found their homes were not suited for their needs. Many people also decided that the city life is no longer for them, and are looking to get away with more space, more privacy and, although not explicitly stated, less people.
Travel Restrictions canceled many vacations. Lockdown and social distancing requirements closed public swimming pools and gyms, cancelled sports and activities, closed movie theaters and recreation facilities. Kids were literally stuck at home and any home with extra indoor and outdoor recreations space became priceless. My children are grown now, but I imagine all the moms who have young children had a challenging year, especially if they did not have a spacious home.
Survey: Why Are Americans Moving?
Another survey of 2,000 real estate agents was conducted by HomeLight, a real estate technology company, between April to the end of June. This survey asked the agents; “What are the top reasons motivating people to move currently?” (Check all that apply.) And “Which of the following features, characteristics or amenities do you believe will be most desirable or important to homebuyers in a post COVID-19 era?” Let’s take a look at the results.
What are the top reasons motivating people to move?
It is not surprising that after the living through the lockdown restrictions that “A Need for More Space” was the top move motivator at 44%. “Wanting to Own Rather Than Rent” came in at a close second at 40%, which is a common reason for most first-time homebuyers.
After many years of Millennials migrating to the city for the urban lifestyle, “Getting Out of the City” came in at a surprising 37%. Considering that bars, restaurants and night life are not nearly as fun as they used to be, with all the social distancing restrictions in place, it is understandable that city folk are making these types of changes.
“Job Relocation” and “Wanting More Outdoor Space” tied at 31%. While job relocation has always been a proponent for a move, wanting more outdoor space makes sense, if there is another lockdown, you NEED more indoor and outdoor space to spread out and keep your sanity!
“Wanting to be closer to friends and family” and “Downsizing” came in neck and neck at 28% and 27% respectively. They are typical reasons for moves in real estate.
Other choices offered were “Better School District” 19%, “Leaving a Multifamily or Condo” 13%, “Other” 11% and finally only 3% said they were moving to “Get Closer to the City. “
What characteristics do realtors believe are most desirable to homebuyers in a Post Covid-19 era?
Prior to Covid-19 many homebuyers would answer a modern kitchen, a finished basement, a garage. Times have changed since the pandemic, and today’s homebuyers want it all.
In the past this was not a dealbreaker for most homebuyers, however, today’s homebuyer’s top amenity is a “Designated Home Office” at 17%. Considering what we all lived through over the last year, not a shocker. A place to comfortably work is almost a necessity these days, especially if you are forced to work from home.
The next top response also reflects the pandemic, “Suburban or less dense location,” was listed at 16%. The mass migration into the cities has become a mass exodus. Things change quickly when a pandemic happens.
Closely following is the desire for “Single Family Living” 15%. As I said before it is not explicitly stated but people seem to not want to be around other people anymore!
Keeping with the trend 15% of Homebuyers are also looking for a “Private and spacious outdoor area.” You never know when your next vacation will be a “Stay-cation,” so you might as well have an outdoor oasis to enjoy! From my own personal experience, I can attest that homes with backyard oases (decks, patios, pools) are selling like crazy!
Formerly in the top two “A Well-Appointed Kitchen” dropped to fifth in the rankings at 11%. Considering how important the kitchen is in the home, I am surprised it fell so far down the list. It is still in the top 5, as I expect it always will be. Let’s face it, the kitchen is the hub of the household, and a home with a beautiful kitchen always sells easily.
Tied at 8% are a “Private Pool” and “Close to Nature,” as more and more people want to be able to entertain themselves outdoors, enjoy natures and get some exercise. Families with young children especially need an outlet to get fresh air and vitamin D!
A “Designated Home Gym” hit the list with 2% saying it is on their priority list. This was something that I found interesting, as it was not list worthy years ago. Considering how important working out is to some, and how losing gym time affected their wellbeing during the pandemic, it makes sense.
Lastly, 1% of home buyers said they would like dual main suites and another 1% say they would like a guest house.
The Pandemic Has Influenced These Choices
As you can see, the pandemic has not only changed many American’s economic situation, it has also changed the way people view their homes. Home is no longer a landing pad in between trips, and just a place to change your clothes and sleep. Our homes are the center of our world; they must be functional and comfortable.
While we hope that we will never see a national lockdown again, many homebuyers want to be sure that if we do, they will be happy being “stuck” at home.
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