4 in 10 Americans want to buy a house because of the pandemic, study finds

Dhara Singh
·Reporter
·3 min read

The pandemic is pushing 4 in 10 Americans to consider buying a home in the next six to 12 months, a new survey found, largely to get more space.

But many worry the hot housing market could derail those plans.

“Whether it is an extra bedroom or office or outdoor space for kids to go, it shows people don’t want to live in condensed areas anymore,” said Kimberly Lanham, vice president at Mphasis Digital Risk, which conducted the survey of 1,113 people. “They want to get out and spend time in natural spaces, where they can actually walk.”

Nearly two-thirds of respondents want a spare bedroom, while 63% cite a deck or patio and 56% cite an office as top amenities in a new home. Additionally, 45% want additional space for their children, while a third want to leave more densely populated areas. About 3 in 10 prefer more room to accommodate extended family.

sold house with blurred family on background
Nearly two-thirds of respondents want a spare bedroom, while 63% cite a deck or patio and 56% cite an office as top amenities in a new home. (Source: Getty Creative)

‘It’s a seller’s market’

While Americans crave open spaces, 3 in 5 express apprehension about the state of the housing industry, according to the survey. Almost 3 in 10 worry about inflated prices, 1 in 7 are concerned about settling for a lesser home, and 1 in 8 fear getting involved in a bidding war.

Read more: Here's the history of the 30-year fixed mortgage rate

Those concerns are keeping the majority of homeowners from upgrading. Only 15% of homeowners indicated an interest in selling their home, according to the survey.

“Homeowners understand that it’s a seller’s market, but they also appreciate the fact that they

will need to buy another home to live in,” Jeff Taylor, co-founder and managing partner at Mphasis Digital Risk. “In this environment, there’s no assurance that a seller will be able to buy a house that is as nice, or nicer, than the home they just sold.”

Read more: Near record low mortgage rates: Should you cash out and refinance?

Even historically low mortgage rates may not be enough. The average rate for the 30-year-fixed mortgage reached a record low for the 11th time this year at 2.80%. But such low rates also lay the foundation for strong price appreciation with a limited supply of housing on the market.

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“Today's buyers still pay roughly $6 to $7 less in principal and interest payments on a mortgage for today's median home at today's typical mortgage rate than a buyer of last year's median home at last year's mortgage rate would pay,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com, a real estate listing site. “If price increases continue at this pace, however, they will erode and eventually completely erase those savings.”

Dhara is a reporter Yahoo Money and Cashay. Follow her on Twitter at @Dsinghx.

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