Move it or lose it? One-quarter of Americans consider pulling up stakes due to COVID-19

June 23, 2020

Is there an escape strategy for COVID-19, other than sheltering in place and using personal protective equipment? According to a survey conducted on May 13 by FinanceBuzz, fully 26% of Americans actually are considering relocating permanently as a result of coronavirus.

Others have cancelled their home moves and are settling in for the long haul, Real Simple magazine reports.

From home buying, to renting, to temporary moves back home with parents, here’s a look at how the pandemic has influenced housing trends in the short- and long- term:

  • 26% are considering a permanent move: As millions of Americans lost their jobs or were furloughed during the past few months, finances became a major factor influencing housing plans. Of those who plan to move permanently, a “lower cost of living” (41%) and the wish “to be in a less populated area” (29%) were the top two motivating factors. After months spent cooped up in city apartments, many urban dwellers want to relocate to the spacious and generally more affordable suburbs. Plus, as many companies transition to remote work, those who lived in cities for their jobs are now free to move without the lengthy commute.

Indeed, Real Simple reports, with a viable coronavirus vaccine still may many months away—but states across the country reopening rapidly, enabling house tours—Americans are becoming ever-more anxious to pick up and move to the suburbs.

  • 75% of potential home buyers and renters are delaying their moves: The survey found that three-quarters of prospective home buyers and renters had opted to put off their intended moves between March and June of this year—but that doesn’t mean that the moves are off the table forever: Of the 1,500 respondents over the age of 18, 58% say they still intend to move at some point; while 17% have canceled their moves entirely.

The most common reason for the postponed moves? Most cited the inability to tour new places in person and stay-at-home orders. What’s more, Real Simple notes, 25% said they are waiting for the market to improve.

So how long will the home buying delays last? Over 60% of those surveyed reported that they wouldn’t feel comfortable buying a new home until 2021.

  • Many have moved back home with their parents: Finally, 26% of Gen-Zers and 9% of Millennials have temporarily moved back in with their parents during the pandemic. With most colleges closed now, Gen Zers’ moves back home come as no surprise. When surveyed in mid-May, more than 35% who had moved back home with their parents said they weren’t certain when they would return to their primary residences.

Research contact: @RealSimple

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