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Recent Homebuyers Feeling Pandemic-Related Anxiety

Tamara E. Holmes
Recent Homebuyers Feeling Pandemic-Related Anxiety

Finding and buying the right house can be a satisfying accomplishment, but the pandemic may be putting a damper on the experience for some recent homebuyers.

It’s no secret that the pandemic has had a huge impact on many areas of life. To find out if it’s also changed the homebuying experience, realty company Clever Real Estate surveyed consumers who bought a home this year to see if their views about the homebuying process differed from the views of those who purchased a house during more normal times.

They found that those who bought their houses this year were more likely to have negative feelings about the transaction than those who purchased their homes in earlier years.

A tale of two time periods

Throughout the pandemic, concerns have been raised that some homebuyers might delay home purchases due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus. The Clever Real Estate survey suggests that even those who moved forward with their homebuying plans were affected by the pandemic.

To gauge how the views of recent homebuyers differed from those of consumers who purchased earlier, Clever Real Estate compared responses of those who bought their home in 2020 to responses of those who purchased a home between 2015 and 2019. The responses from 2015-19 homebuyers came from an earlier survey conducted by Clever Real Estate in April 2019.

While 62% of buyers from 2015 to 2019 said they felt comfortable about homeownership, only 35% of 2020 homebuyers felt that way.

Likewise, nearly 60% of 2015-29 buyers said they felt happy about homeownership, compared to 39% of 2020 buyers.

On the other side of the spectrum, nearly a third of 2020 homebuyers — 32% — said they were anxious about being a homeowner, compared to 15% of buyers from 2015 to 2019.

Those who purchased their homes in 2020 were also more likely to regret their purchase, as 2020 homebuyers were 28% more likely to say they had feelings of buyer’s remorse than those who bought their houses between 2015 and 2019.

The biggest reasons respondents gave for having regrets were:

  • Fears that the pandemic might affect their home value (36.24%)
  • Thoughts that they might have gotten a better deal had they waited to buy (22.93%)
  • Concerns that their mortgage is too expensive (22.64%)

Pandemic-fueled uncertainty

Some of the pessimistic feelings expressed by 2020 homebuyers may stem from economic fears related to the pandemic — another recent survey found that consumers were experiencing the largest increase in economic anxiety in five years.

Among respondents to the 2020 Clever Real Estate survey:

  • Nearly 79% said they were either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ concerned about their ability to pay the mortgage because of hardships related to the COVID-19 crisis
  • More than half — 55% — said that at least one person in their household that contributes to housing costs has lost their job since they bought the home
  • More than a third — 37% — said they have accumulated more than $2,000 in non-mortgage-related debt since they bought their home

Methodology: Clever Real Estate surveyed 1,000 homeowners who bought their house between January and May of 2020. The survey was conducted between May 31 and June 2. Survey responses were compared to responses from Clever Real Estate’s True Cost of Homeownership Survey, which was given to 1,000 homeowners who bought their houses between 2015 and 2019. That survey was conducted April 22, 2019.