How has COVID Affected Housing Across the United States?

Since COVID-19 first began to tear through cities, the world changed in several key ways. It isn’t a surprise that these changes influenced several industries and sections of our economy. The real estate market is one area that was impacted by COVID-19, but not in the ways that you might expect.

When COVID-19 first began to spread, there was a lot of concern about being around other people. People in multi-family housing were automatically more at risk than those who had their own single-family dwelling to live in. 

Multi-family housing meant that avoiding people was nearly impossible, particularly for those with pets. In response to this, we have seen a distinct increase in interest in single-family housing instead. In this article, we will explore the changes that COVID-19 has brought to the housing market, driven by what customers in the market are looking for. 

More Space
The pandemic introduced a long list of limitations, and in a majority of places, things still are not the same as they once were. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the majority of public recreational spaces were immediately closed. This left a lot of people inside wondering what to do, which sparked an unexpected interest in outdoor spaces.

While we all certainly hope that we will not see another COVID-19 incident, the truth is that there isn’t a guarantee. People realize this, which is why they are looking for new ways to get outside. Though plenty of public areas and businesses closed down, nature largely remained open. 

Easy access to nature and comfortable outdoor spaces is higher than average right now, with many potential homeowners looking for spaces that are close to natural areas and offer open areas like parks that can be enjoyed. In response to this newly developed interest, more people are looking for homes that offer this as opposed to cities or other crowded areas.

Remote Work
As a response to COVID-19, a large number of companies have introduced remote work options—and many of them are retaining them for the foreseeable future. This significant change to businesses in every industry has empowered us to take control of our lives in new and unexpected ways. 

Less Commutes
Before the pandemic, the majority of people had to physically leave their homes to drive to an office or building for work. Now that so many companies have transitioned to remote work, this is no longer the case. Working from home is common, and more people expect it as well. In fact, plenty of people have moved specifically into jobs that offer the ability to work from home. 

This new change has completely removed the decisions that homeowners would often make because of their commutes. Most people prefer to live somewhere close to their work to make their commute easier. Without this factor to consider, more people are interested in moving to the suburbs or even rural areas. Since they don’t technically need to live near the city, they have the ability to choose more remote areas while still maintaining their employment.

Affordability Over Location
The freedom granted by remote work is also encouraging people to choose where they live based on financial comfort. Without the need to be in highly populated areas with naturally higher housing costs, they have the ability to move to other areas where they can find a more affordable home

Remote work has not just empowered people to move further away from cities. It has also made it possible for them to live in completely different states. In response to this, we are seeing a push towards the sunbelt states and areas in the west. People are looking for more affordable homes, and in these areas, they can generally find homes that are cheaper and larger compared to homes in more expensive cities. 

Millennials are Entering the Market in Droves
The younger generations are growing, and now is the time where a significant number of millennials are entering the housing market. This generation is now at the age where they are old enough to get married and have children. Their interest in housing—and desperate need for it—is higher than ever. There is a very high demand for housing for people in their twenties and thirties, and they are looking to fill that need.

While this is not a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is definitely influenced by it. Though these potential homeowners would have hit the market at this time regardless, the fact remains that millennials have different driving forces than other generations because of the pandemic. Without the dangers of the pandemic and the freedom for this working generation, they would likely have carried on with the same trends as previous generations.

Low Interest Rates
The interest rates in the market are lower than pre-COVID times, and that is a great thing for those who are looking to buy a home. The government is intentionally keeping these rates low to accommodate the citizens and encourage them to continue to invest in properties. Though the economy did see quite a bit of fluctuation throughout the pandemic, the government wants homeowners to continue to buy homes, so they are making it easier. In response, homeowners are more interested in moving in before the interest rates climb back up. 

Final Thoughts
The real estate market has changed in many ways, leaving a lot of us to wonder what will come next. Though there was a lot of uncertainty caused by COVID-19, there are several positive outcomes that have come with it. This is not the only crisis that the housing market is dealing with, and it can be navigated.

Homeowners looking to invest in a single-family home can benefit from looking into existing homes with a low-interest rate or choose accessory dwelling units (ADUs) for fast and affordable housing that offers the same privacy as traditional homes.

As we look to the future, it is important to remember that there is plenty of opportunity for those who are looking to move. The uncertainty is behind us, and there are some truly wonderful options available to those who need a space of their own.