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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, December 18, 2020

Homebuying interest actually increased amid the pandemic




The pandemic has changed many consumer purchasing habits in the Chattanooga area, from opting for more takeout to attending fewer in-person entertainment events. But how did the pandemic affect bigger purchases, like homes?

The National Association of Home Builders’ latest “Housing Trends Report” reports homebuying interest actually increased amid the pandemic in the third quarter of 2020.

Home buying began ramping upward at the beginning of the second half of the year. Among the 13% of American adults considering a future home purchase in the third quarter of 2020, half have moved beyond planning and are actively trying to find one to buy, compared to less than half (44%) a year ago.

The COVID-19 pandemic and record-low mortgage rates are likely contributors to this increased activity. The jump in interest primarily comes from a majority of millennials (58%), adults 24 to 39 years old, and Gen X (52%), adults 40 to 55 years old.

Homebuyer perceptions also changed in terms of the ease in searching for a home. More than one-in-four prospective buyers (28%) in the third quarter of 2020 said they expect their search for a home to become easier in the months ahead, while a majority (61%) expect it will be harder or stay the same.

By contrast, a year earlier, fewer buyers (21%) expected availability improvements and more buyers (68%) thought it would be difficult to search for a home.

Strong new and existing home sales in the summer of 2020 might have been a factor contributing to buyers’ improved expectations for housing availability.

As the number of active buyers searching for a home increases, the length of time spent searching also continues to grow. In the third quarter of 2020, 62% of buyers who were actively engaged in the purchasing process have spent three months or more looking for a home, compared to 58% a year earlier.

Geographically, larger shares of prospective buyers in every region of the nation, including the Chattanooga area, are actively trying to find a home to buy compared to a year ago. In terms of the type of home attracting prospective buyers, interest in newly-built homes rose to 31% in the third quarter of 2020, up from 18% a year earlier.

To find a real estate professional or a qualified homebuilder in the Tri-state area, visit the online membership directory of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net.