In a recently released report surveying 2,000 plus people, Lending Tree reported how COVID is reshaping people’s housing wants and needs. Nearly 50% of Americans surveyed are considering moving to reduce living expenses, according to Lending Tree
“We found that record-breaking unemployment, along with an exodus from major cities with dense populations, and a desire for more living space are all motivating Americans to re-evaluate their housing priorities,” notes Lending Tree’s Chief Economist, Tendayi Kapfidze.
From Millennial families opting for single-family homes in the suburbs to adult children moving back in with their parents, many people are seriously looking at their housing expenses.
Takeaways from Lending Tree include:
- Overall, 46% of respondents are thinking about relocating within the next year. This includes those considering a new place in their current area (27%), in another city in their state (12%), or a new state entirely (8%).
- Homeowners are less likely than renters — 39% versus 56%, respectively — to consider relocating in the next 12 months.
- 67% of consumers now desire home amenities and features they didn’t previously consider. The three most cited are: A yard (27%), a bigger kitchen (18%), and office space (16%).
- 14% reported moving in with family or friends because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“All the research confirmed the conventional wisdom that folks are looking at the economy and their expenses. People are feeling less secure even if they have a job right now. Some of the job losses we saw early in the pandemic which we thought were temporary have become permanent,”Kapfidze explains. Cutting back on housing costs makes sense since they are such a significant portion of monthly expenses.
“One big way homeowners are saving money is from refinancing. The latest numbers show that 20 million people could benefit from refinancing. Don’t talk yourself out of that possible opportunity because maybe your credit score isn’t great right now. Do talk to a lender,” Kapfidze notes.
COVID’s direct impact on housing and living situations can be seen from the survey’s numbers:
- Nearly two-thirds (64%) of remote workers are mulling over a move, while just 31% of commuters report the same.
- More than a third (38%) of consumers report that the coronavirus pandemic has changed their living situation.
- The most common change was moving in with family or friends (14%), followed by having family or friends moving in with them (10%) and buying a new home (6%).
Kapfidze weighs in on the news behind the numbers. “I haven’t been to my New York office since February. If you are working remotely now and for the foreseeable future, it makes perfect sense to be seriously considering a move.”
According to the report when asked. “Why are you thinking about moving to a new home in your area? The answer from 44 percent of respondents said they wanted to “reduce living expenses.” That’s revealing when you dive deeper and see that 26 percent of people living in the west and 24 percent of those who call the Northeast home say “their local cost of living is high and no longer worth it, due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Despite rent prices falling in major cities while home prices continue to soar in the suburbs more and more people economically impacted by COVID are looking for ways to reduce financial stress.
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