Homebuyer Buzz: Virtual Home Tours Gain in Popularity

March 26, 2020

Homebuyer Buzz: Virtual Home Tours Gain in Popularity

Homebuyer Buzz is our monthly round-up of news stories related to the latest in homebuying trends — from the evolving wants of homebuyers to design news and more.

This month, virtual home tours are surging in popularity while home builders are finding other ways to promote safety during the buying process. Interestingly, meal kits are also gaining in popularity and their usage is influencing what people want from their kitchens. 

Virtual home tours and other precautions take over. Home builders and real estate companies are making it easier for home buyers to feel safe in the home buying process through precautions like virtual home tours and “drive-thru" closings. Redfin reported seeing a 500 percent increase in virtual home tour requests, Keller Williams also went virtual, with employees working remotely as wellLennar Corp. also started drive-thru closings that allows buyers to complete paperwork without leaving their cars. [Builder, HousingWire and Bloomberg] 

Some agents are adding coronavirus clauses to contracts. Penta is reporting that some real estate agents, in the desire to maintain home sales, are adding special coronavirus clauses to offers and extending contracts. The move is happening as more Americans across the country are being ordered to stay at home. [Penta] 

Meal kits are driving residential trends. The popularity of meal kits is surging, and usage of them is impacting how kitchens are designedAccording to one interior designer, microwave usage is decreasing, while combi-steam ovens, which are ideal for cooking and premade kits, are getting more popular. More refrigerator space is also desired in tandem with smaller pantry needs. [Forbes] 

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Younger millennials replicate buying desires of the silent generation. The National Association of Realtors released their 2020 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report finding that millennials between 22 and 29 and seniors between 74 and 94 are like-minded in buying preferences. Proximity to friends and family is a high priority for both. [Builder] 

Last year saw the largest growth of first-timersThe first-time homebuyer market was very active in 2019. A report from Genworth Mortgage Insurance found that for the third consecutive year the number of first-time homebuyers exceeded two million — an unprecedented amount in the past 26 years. In the fourth quarter of 2019, first-timers represented 39 percent of all buyers in the single-family market. [HousingWire] 

Apartment renters are likely to be happier than home renters. Rent.com found that apartment renters are slightly happier than home renters and are more likely to continue renting once they move from an apartment than those who rent a house. Overall, 42 percent of apartment renters said they’re satisfied with their living situation, while 39 percent of home renters said the same. [Rent.com] 

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