There really aren’t many areas of our modern lives that haven’t been affected by the spread of COVID-19. Perhaps no part was affected quite as much as how we think about where we live and what we want out of a home.
We have witnessed the great shift to working from home, which was a reality for some but quickly became a reality for most. Suddenly our houses have to serve the purpose of all of the locations we would have previously visited in a day prior to COVID-19. For that reason, many are rethinking their abodes and opting to make a move that suits their new lifestyles.
So, as many people are suddenly considering uprooting themselves to move into a new, more pandemic-friendly paradigm and corresponding place to live, what are the considerations? Here are the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts that have changed how we purchase homes since the pandemic.
Due to pandemic restrictions, homebuyers cannot attend open houses and sometimes have very limited opportunities to view properties. But as we’ve gotten used to buying everything else online, more and more home purchases have also been made online. This change has also really optimized the use of virtual tours on real estate websites. Like with any online shopping, you can cast a much wider net and see more diverse properties than if you were trying to get to all of them on foot.
We Want Different Things
What we are looking for has shifted to more space, home offices, newer kitchens, and access to outdoor space. As we have begun working from homes, our homes are now on the hook to provide us with so much more.
People who work from home may not need to leave the house for anything other than shopping and socializing. At home, we work, host dinners, work out, do our hobbies, relax, and unwind. Surveys in Ontario have found that 70% of new home purchasers bought a house in a town smaller than they would have considered before the pandemic.
For instance, condo costs are still rising, but they are rising at half the growth rate that was forecasted. This is a good example of how much our lives have changed. Condos grew in popularity, and the culture shifted to regard expansive living spaces (like detached houses) as wasteful and excessive. It made sense when most of our lives were spent out of the house, for work, and for entertainment. But that’s not how most people live anymore, and more space is important.
Businesses are moving out to smaller, more affordable towns and cities, and so are we. However, we’re not necessarily moving to the same smaller cities. People are no longer living in the same city as their jobs which marks a dramatic shift in how people decide where to live since in times past people would typically live as close as possible to work.
What Hasn’t Changed
While the interest rates have been lowered to minimize fallout and guard against a recession, housing is still prohibitively expensive and inaccessible to many. But lower interest rates do mean a more affordable mortgage, so this does affect affordability overall.
It is unlikely that the bubble will burst on the soaring real estate prices in Canadian cities any time soon. It would be smart to take advantage of the lower interest rates if nothing else, to get your foot on the ladder and start climbing.
An experienced, knowledgeable realtor like Bargain Max can help to get you to enter the housing market or shift into a new market. Give us a call today to start filling out your wish list, and let’s see if we just might find it for you.