Living in a condo or apartment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic requires an additional layer of caution.
Once mindless activities like riding the elevator, doing laundry or picking up the mail are now carefully choreographed dances between mask-wearing residents. Many have also found that small space living is not conducive to working from home or sheltering in place for months on end.
For those reasons, and likely many more, home shoppers have begun to show increased interest in single-family residences. A new report from Redfin indicates that 36 percent of saved searches on the platform in May were created by users shopping exclusively for single-family homes.
This figure is 3 percentage points higher than in February, before COVID-19 had been declared a global pandemic, and 8 points higher than May 2019. Meantime, searches for condos, townhouses and multi-family homes have taken a hit. In May, 7.5 percent of saved searches excluded single-family homes, the lowest level since 2017.
“People who were previously willing to share space with strangers in exchange for a nice view and a quick commute now want their own yards and home offices,” said Redfin lead economist Taylor Marr. “Flexible work-from-home policies have made this dream achievable for many house hunters.”
Last month, saved searches for single-family homes surged the most in Tampa, Florida, where 44 percent of shoppers filtered out all other home types, up nearly 10 percent from February. Other metros in the top five included Las Vegas, Boston, Seattle and San Jose, where May searches averaged 6 points higher than those in February.
With less importance placed on proximity to the office, home shoppers are able to expand their searches to more affordable neighborhoods. Why purchase a condo with a shared swimming pool when you could install your own in the backyard of a suburban single-family home?
Data in the coming months will further illustrate whether or not a true and sustained shift in homebuyer preferences has taken place.