The pandemic isn’t scaring off home buyers. More than half—or 53% of about 1,000 home buyers recently surveyed—say they are more likely to buy a home in the next year due to the coronavirus outbreak. First-time home buyers and millennials may be the most eager to buy within the next 12 months, the survey from LendingTree shows.
The top two motivators for buying soon are to take advantage of record low mortgage rates (67%) and being able to save for a larger down payment due to reduced spending (32%). Also, the perception of reduced home prices (30%) and being confined in a smaller space during stay-at-home orders have made homeownership more appealing, the survey finds.
The pandemic is not only prompting more people to pursue homeownership, it’s also influencing their home shopping. For example, the majority of respondents say the coronavirus pandemic has affected how much money they plant to spend on a new home. Forty-four percent plan to buy a less expensive home while 21% want a pricier home. Broken out, 28% of first-time buyers say they’ll purchase a pricier home compared to just 17% of repeat buyers.
Home shoppers may be growing more comfortable with the idea of buying a home sight unseen, too. Three in 10 buyers surveyed say they’d purchase a home without physically touring it in person. Also, about six in 10 home buyers say they’ve toured a home virtually over the last two months.
But a potential roadblock to buying a home could be qualifying for a mortgage. Forty-four percent of home buyers say they’re worried about qualifying for a mortgage because of the pandemic, with first-time buyers and millennials expressing the most concern. Lenders have reportedly tightened credit access during the COVID-19 outbreak. Access to mortgage credit dropped by 12.2% in April, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.