Buying a home remains a priority for many Americans, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new Homebuyer Insights from Bank of America found that 89% of potential buyers are still inclined to purchase their first home, and 56% reported that their buying plans have remained the same throughout the pandemic or that the pandemic has led them to want to buy sooner. Homebuyers report they are still maintaining their homebuying process, with 49% looking at real estate listings, 29% doing virtual tours of properties, 24% researching financial advice and 18% touring homes in-person.
Homebuyers’ desired features should come as no surprise, as more people continue working from home and spending more time in their properties. Access to outdoor space was the top feature wanted by buyers, according to 64%, followed by 56% who said high-speed internet and strong cell service. Fifty-two percent want an updated kitchen, 51% want to be close to essential businesses and 44% want to be close to recreational activities.
However, as always, there are limiting factors for these buyers. Sixty-two percent cited expensive home prices as a barrier to buying, while 48% said high rent costs are impacting their ability to save and 30% said student loan debt is limiting their road to homeownership. However, when they do decide to make a purchase, more than three-quarters of respondents said their down payment will come from savings, while 24% said a second job will help pay for it and 19% said assistance programs. Seven in 10 buyers said they will need assistance to save for a down payment, and 80% said they need help understanding how much they can afford when buying a house.
“Home is more important than ever before, and ownership has become a key priority for many, particularly those who have never bought a home before,” said D. Steve Boland, president of retail at Bank of America. “Owning a home has historically helped families create a legacy and enabled them to build long-term wealth.”