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Pandemic Provided Top Two Reasons for Moving in the Past Year, NAR Says

national association of realtors 2021 profile of home buyers and sellers

The Covid-19 pandemic provided the top two reasons for moving over the last year, according to a report on Thursday from the National Association of Realtors.

The first was proximity to friends or family, and the second was the need for more space, according to NAR’s 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

“During the pandemic, buyers and sellers have been driven by the desire to be close to family and friends, as well as the need for a larger home,” said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for NAR.

Among sellers, 18% cited the desire to be close to friends or family as their reason for moving, making it the No. 1 motivation, the report said. The No. 2 reason, at 17%, was the desire for a bigger home. Prior to the pandemic, the top two reasons to move were: Convenience to work and affordability.

During the past year, homes sold in an average of one week, a record for the data series that goes back 40 years, and typically received at least full asking price, the report said.

The length of time people had stayed in their homes dropped to eight years from 10 years, the biggest year-over-year decline recorded, the report said.

Many families struggled during the pandemic with home-schooling their children while working at home, boosting the desire for additional rooms. About 46% of sellers over the past year went on to purchase a larger home and 28% purchased the same size home, the report said.

“The pandemic has impacted everyone, and for many this became an impetus to sell and make a housing trade,” said Lautz.

Buyers typically bought their homes for 100% of the asking price, with 29% paying more than the list price, the report said. The typical home purchased in the last year was 1,900 square feet, had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and was built in 1993, the report said.

Buyers typically searched for eight weeks and looked at a median of eight homes, the report said. Almost all buyers – 95% – used online tools in the search process, including viewing pictures and listing details.

When asked where their internet searches were conducted, half of home buyers said they used a desktop or a laptop computer, and half said they used their mobile phones, the report said.

About The Author:

Kathleen Howley has more than 20 years of experience reporting on the housing and mortgage markets for Bloomberg, Forbes and HousingWire. She earned the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism in 2008 for coverage of the financial crisis, plus awards from the New York Press Club and National Association of Real Estate Editors. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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