The coronavirus pandemic pushed buyers toward larger and more expensive homes in the suburbs, as they try to accommodate more people under one roof, according to the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, an annual report released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors.
“Buyers sought housing with more rooms, more square footage and more yard space, as they may have desired a home office or home gym,” said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at NAR, in comments accompanying the report.
Larger homes can better accommodate adult children, as well as elderly parents, moving in, she said. Before the pandemic, multigenerational home purchases represented about 11% of sales, but that went up to 15% in the months since March.
“Multi-generational homes are absolutely a local trend in Denver, but it’s much harder to find these homes because they are often far outside the average price range,” said Jenny Usaj, owner and broker of Usaj Realty in Denver. “People are more willing to go move outside their initial target location — or neighborhood entirely — to find a home that has more space to accommodate their children and parents.”
Buyers who purchased a home after March were more likely to relocate to the suburbs, and nationally they paid an average of $339,400 versus the $270,000 before the pandemic. But the survey found buyers don’t expect to stay in their new homes as long, about 10 years on average compared to 15 years before April.
That could reflect the average age of the buyers, 55, an all-time high. The average age of first-time buyers was 33, and they represented 31% of total purchases during the pandemic, down from 33% in 2019. Their share of purchases is the lowest since the 30% share reported in 1987.
Only one-third of purchases were made by buyers with children under age 18, a record low and down from 58% in 1985. A record share of home searches, 97%, originated online this year, and the average time buyers spent looking for a home fell to eight weeks from 10 weeks last year. That’s the shortest time required since 2007.
Sellers this year were more likely to describe their need to sell as “somewhat urgent” and to describe the home being too small as the reason for selling, 18% this year versus 13% last year.
“Homes are now people’s gyms, date nights, day cares, schools, and retirement spaces. People are looking for space,” Usaj said. Even within condo developments, she has seen current residents buy larger units just to stretch out more.
The NAR findings are based on surveys conducted with 8,212 recent homebuyers across the country.
Original Article Link: https://www.denverpost.com/2020/11/12/buyers-favored-bigger-suburban-homes-during-pandemic/