MReport June 2021

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54 | M REPORT O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST DATA Homebuyers 'Happy' With Their COVID-Era Choices Buyers who made their purchase during the pandemic felt at ease with their decision, according to a survey, with many stating their home meets their needs. A ccording to a new survey, nearly three-quarters of people who bought homes during the pandemic are content with their purchase, with many stating they should have made the move sooner. Among the 1,000 surveyed who made a home purchase over the past 12 months during the pan- demic, 71% felt buying was a good decision, and 75% said their new home meets their needs. "Most of us spent more time at home during the pandemic than ever before, so it's no surprise that it changed what many people want from their homes and neigh- borhoods and created a greater sense of urgency to find a home that satisfied those needs," said George Ratiu, Senior Economist for "With the num- ber of available homes for sale in short supply, buyers didn't have many choices over the past year, or a lot of time to consider their options in a very competitive market. However, as our survey shows, pandemic buyers generally feel good about the choices they made, and while the homebuy- ing process itself is stressful, new homeowners feel their new homes meet their needs and do not regret the choices they made." With the increase in remote work opportunities over the past year, more home seekers looked to expand their living space to accommodate their new work situation and their children's re- mote schooling needs. More than half (55%) of those surveyed found a new home that is exactly what they need for working or school- ing from home. When asked how they felt about their new surroundings, more than 70% of new homeown- ers were "happy," while 45% of new homeowners wish they had moved sooner, and only 19% say they should have waited. The survey found that three- quarters of those surveyed were planning to buy prior to the onset of COVID, while the remaining 25% decided to purchase because of the pandemic. "With pandemic buyers in many regions having to do more of their home search virtually and the need to make quick decisions, buyer's remorse could have been a common outcome," said the study. Less than one-third of respon- dents said they wished they'd spent more time on their home search before buying, and nearly half (48%) did not feel rushed or pressured into making a home- buying decision. They also didn't feel as if they overpaid, with 61% of those surveyed reporting that the purchase price of their new home was either at or under their original budget. "Buying a home is the biggest financial decision most people make and, while there's pressure to move more quickly, espe- cially today, it's not a decision you want to make lightly," said Lexie Holbert, home and living expert at Millennials and Homebuying: How They Made the Down Payment Money saved during the pandemic could help some secure first-time homeownership—a new report examines that and other methods for raising funds to compete in a sellers' market. P urchasing a home right now is challenging for first-timers, millennials, and most Americans. But for those millennials who were able to maintain steady employ- ment throughout the pandemic- related lockdowns and stay- home recommendations, money saved, in some cases, went toward purchasing a home. "For nearly one-third (31%) of millennial first-time homebuyers, the ability to save extra money during the coronavirus pandemic helped them accumulate the mon- ey needed for a down payment," says the new report from Redfin, which surveyed more than 1,500 Americans who plan to buy or sell a home in the next 12 months. More than 100 millennial first-time homebuyers responded to the question about down payments. While the most commonly cited method of accumulating enough for a down payment was "saved money directly from paychecks," (48%), that method is followed by "the ability to save extra money during the coronavi- rus pandemic," (31%). Other popu- lar methods included working a second job (27%), cash gifts from family (20%), and selling stock investments (19%). The U.S. personal savings rate climbed to 33.7% in April 2020, up from a pre-pandemic rate of 7.2% in December 2019. It has remained at an elevated level, clocking in at 27.6% in March, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which track the percent- age of personal disposable income saved by Americans in any given month. Redfin also determined that while the pandemic motivated some homeowners to relocate, it simultaneously was the impetus for an almost equal amount of others to stay put. Thirty-seven percent of all homebuyer respondents (regard- less of age) are purchasing a home later than originally planned because of the pandemic and 32% are buying a home sooner than originally planned. Redfin contributors explain: The popularity of remote work is fueling demand for spacious homes, and it's also motivating people to move to entirely differ- ent areas. But rising prices and a home supply shortage are among the factors causing would-be buy- ers to pause their home search. "Roughly half of my clients are people moving to the Central Valley from the Bay Area because they want to live in a bigger home for less money, and a lot of them only need to commute into the city once or twice a week, if that," said Steven Majourau, an agent in Stockton, Tracy and other parts of California's Central Valley. "They're selling a large condo or townhouse for close to $1 million—or a small single-family home for more than $1 million—in San Francisco, San Jose, or the East Bay and buying a large house here in the Central Valley for around $700,000."

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