For all those hesitant to take advantage of the historically low mortgage rates available in 2021 and earlier this year, it turns out the grass isn’t always greener as a homeowner.
One in five Americans have moved since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, according to a new survey from The Harris Poll shared exclusively with luck. The survey, conducted in mid-November, included a nationally representative sample of nearly 2,000 US adults—1,296 homeowners and 615 renters.
Of those who changed addresses in the past two and a half years, 44% reported that they regretted moving from their current home.
That may be due, in part, to the fact that most of those who chose to transfer (59%) said the decision was unplanned or unexpected. The spontaneous nature of the moves tend to cause financial stress or perhaps lead many people to make compromises on the location or nature of the property they are currently considering.
The biggest reason for these moves? More space, according to about two-thirds of survey respondents. And that makes sense, as COVID-19 lockdowns have forced more Americans to live and work more outside their homes than before the pandemic — making extra space a premium.
Other major drivers of Americans’ movements include the search for cheaper housing and the cost of living. One-third of those surveyed said they took advantage of the market turmoil related to COVID-19, saying they got a better deal when renting or got lower rates. of interest.
Interestingly, about 56% of those who moved said they were motivated to find a safer neighborhood. And while crime rates have risen during the pandemic number of homicides increased almost 30% in 2020—to some extent, the search for salvation is more important.
These days, many Americans are grappling with what experts call a “stacked crisis” that includes the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of the war in Ukraine, historic levels of inflation, and multiple disasters. climate, said Libby Rodney, chief strategy officer and Futurist at The Harris Poll.
“Our safety is just ruined because we’ve been in all these crises. All of this is kind of having a big impact on consumers and the human psyche,” said Rodney. “Critical to rebuilding our sense of safety, a fundamental principle, is shelter and liv- there.”
Despite the current difficulties in buying a home amid rising interest rates and continued low inventory, 39% of Americans surveyed want to move into a new home in the next three years. Among prospective homeowners, more than half are considering rural and suburban destinations, Harris found. “That’s driven by the ability to work remotely, but it’s also driven by the fact that people no longer feel safe in cities,” Rodney said.
Cost, of course, is also a factor in strengthening the appeal of suburban and rural properties. With average 30-year mortgage rate currently hovers at 6.49% (and set to climb higher with the Federal Reserve’s expected further rate hikes), many would-be homeowners are being forced to recalculate what—and where—they can afford to buy.
Thank you, the housing bubble formed during the pandemic began to decline, with experts such as Fed Chair Jerome Powell recently saying “hopefully [the market] come out in a better place between supply and demand.”
But Rodney says relying solely on market forces may not be enough—especially around something as critical as basic shelter. “There really needs to be some kind of transition to simplify these things, and get people into housing so we can start rebuilding the basic security and sense of safety that people are looking for at this time, ” said Rodney.
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