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Vaccine rollout to inspire more home buying, Zillow says

By Mike Wheatley | March 1, 2021

The COVID-19 vaccine is likely to add more buyers and sellers to an already red hot real estate market.

A new survey from Zillow finds a large majority (70%) of homeowners say they would be comfortable moving to a new home after widespread COVID-19 vaccine distribution, a meaningful bump from the 52% who currently feel that way. That amounts to homeowners in more than 14 million homes feeling newly comfortable moving after widespread vaccination.2

Among homeowners who said the vaccine would impact their decision to sell, nearly four-in-five (78%) said they expect it will make them more likely to move.

This research follows Zillow's prediction of 7 million home sales this year, nearly 25% more than in 2020, as more sellers regain the confidence to return to the market at a time of incredible demand. Last fall, Zillow research found financial anxiety and ongoing uncertainty was keeping some would-be sellers on the sidelines, depressing inventory. Now survey results find measures of both life and financial uncertainty have decreased: 25% of homeowners reported their life or financial situation was too uncertain this January, compared to 29% who said the same in November.

Sellers drawn in by more certainty, the vaccine and strong sale prices could help feed a ravenous demand for homes this spring home shopping season. 2020 brought a dramatic acceleration in the speed of the market, with buyers snapping up homes just days after they were listed for sale. That velocity, enabled by the rapid adoption of real estate technology, allowed existing home sales to rise 5.6% while overall inventory fell.

"We expect that the vaccine rollout will likely boost inventory, as sellers become increasingly willing to move despite Covid-19 - resulting in greater numbers of new listings beginning this spring," says Chris Glynn, principal economist at Zillow. "That injection of inventory could give buyers more options and breathing room in a competitive market. The vaccine, however, will also likely add to already-strong demand, given that most sellers will become buyers as they trade in for a home that better suits their new needs. "

That already-strong demand is being driven by both demographic and pandemic-led factors. Millennials - often considered the largest generational group in the country - are aging into their peak home-buying years. The generation fueling the Zillow surfing trend is now hitting their mid-30s, the median age of a first-time home buyer.

The Great Reshuffling continues to contribute to unrelenting demand in the for-sale market, as the pandemic has prompted people to rethink how and where they want to live. The freedom to telework has opened up new, affordable housing options all over the country. Real estate tech tools, such as next-generation 3D home virtual tours with interactive floor plans, are enabling shoppers to remotely explore all the possibilities a move could bring.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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