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43% of Potential Home Buyers Changing Plans Due to COVID-19

43% of Potential Home Buyers Changing Plans Due to COVID-19
3 min. read
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Image: Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock.com

According to a recent survey by our colleagues at RENTCafé, the ongoing pandemic has put a hold on the home-buying plans of 43% of renters who, at the start of this year, were hoping to become homeowners in 2020.

The survey took place at the end of May 2020. Approximately 7,000 renters responded to questions about their housing plans prior to and after the pandemic began. The results showed that one in 10 renters was ready and planning to buy a home in 2020, led by Gen Xers (15%) and older Millennials (14%).

Among those who were set on renting, proceeding with caution was prevalent. In particular, the largest share of respondents said they would transition to a smaller apartment (the majority of them being Gen Zers and Baby Boomers). Conversely, Millennials and Gen Xers said they wanted to upgrade to a larger apartment.

Economic Uncertainty Primary Reason for Changing Home-Buying Plans

As expected given the unpredictable times we’re currently living in, the 43% of would-be homebuyers said that economic uncertainty was preventing them from buying. The second-most noted reason was loss of income.

Generationally, 50% of older Millennials got cold feet about buying in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. They were followed by younger Millennials (43%) and Gen Z (40%). Baby Boomers seemed to be the least-concerned generation, with 63% saying they intended to carry on with their home-buying plans.

23% of Renters Never Plan to Become Homeowners

The survey also inquired about when renters plan to buy a home. The results showed that while 56% were hopeful about becoming homeowners in the next five years, 23% of respondents said they had no intention of ever buying a house.

Of those who said they would never buy a home, the majority were Baby Boomers (50%) and Gen Xers (25%). At the other end of the spectrum, those who were planning to make the transition from renters to homeowners in the next five years were mostly older Millennials (68%) and younger Millennials (62%).

There’s no way to know how the housing market will change in the near future or how renters’ opinions about homeownership will be affected by COVID-19. However, renters are already showing caution when it comes to making important housing decisions. Consequently, we can probably assume that this feeling will continue to persist among most of them — at least as long as we’re dealing with the pandemic.

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