No one knows better than Realtors® how our industry has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the fourth quarter, PAR’s Welcome Home survey asked recent homebuyers to comment whether the pandemic affected their transaction. While PAR has conducted the Welcome Home for the past five years, this is the first one that reflected the effects of the pandemic.
And homebuyers responded that the pandemic had a great influence their transactions.
Thirteen percent of homebuyers surveyed said that aspects of the pandemic and restrictions due to the pandemic were the biggest source of stress during their homebuying process. The pandemic caused additional stress while buyers were trying to downside belongings, moving during the shutdown and closing delays.
Other homebuyers – 16% – said that the biggest source of stress came from needing to sell their previous home around the same time that they were buying their current home.
A specific question asked about how the pandemic affected their homebuyer experience showed a range of answers. Their comments ranged from viewing homes remotely, restrictions on viewing homes in person, delays in closings, inability to show their previous home and fewer homes on the market.
Many of the buyers noted a greater urgency in buying a home because of the limited housing inventory, which we’re all keenly aware of. As I talk with many of you throughout the state, we continue to see tight inventory situations. This challenging market has compelled buyers to make offers more quickly and prepare to close sooner than in the past. And the survey reveals that the disruption of real estate sales earlier this year has intensified this problem even more so.
The survey also showed more buyers reported taking longer to find, buy and move into their new homes. Forty-three percent of buyers reported being able to get into their new homes in less than three months, compared to nearly 50% in previous surveys.
Because the shutdown forced many sellers to delay putting their homes on the market, it extended the time buyers spent looking for homes because of the reduced inventory.