Post-corona housing demand appears to remain at similar levels to those seen before the national health crisis. 13% are seeking a rental property, while another 13% are looking to buy a home.
Of course, the COVID-19 crisis altered everyone’s plans, including in the real estate market. However, the recorded demand has not fallen as much as was predicted in either the rental market or the sales market.
Before the pandemic, 14% of adults between 18 and 65 years of age were looking for a home to rent. This percentage has fallen only one point to 13%, according to a report from fotocasa. In the sales market the decrease is greater but within reasonable parameters: two percentage points, falling from 15% pre-crisis, to 13% now.
Despite the fact that demand has remained almost the same as before the crisis, the people who are looking now are not the same group as before. 8% of those looking to rent pre-crisis and 7% looking to buy say they have cancelled or postponed their search. However, 7% of individuals have now entered the search for a rental with a new 5% looking to buy.
“Those who abandoned the search for housing during the pandemic did so, basically, due to economic and personal uncertainty. At the other extreme, new residential needs and the search for opportunities in the market are encouraging those who were not looking for a new home before the pandemic. These two groups balance each other and make housing demand almost stable after the pandemic which is good news for the real estate sector,” explained Anaïs López, Director of Communication at Fotocasa.
Who is looking now?
The pre-pandemic home shoppers are similar to those we are seeing now: 38 years old on average for pre-corona virus claimants versus 40 years for those seeking a home now. Regarding the employment situation of those who want access to housing, the percentage of those who currently work has increased slightly (62% post-pandemic compared to 59% before the crisis) and that of the unemployed has decreased (25% now compared to 28% before).
Logically, a health crisis of this size disrupts the plans and economic forecasts of many social strata. The most exposed (young people, lower socioeconomic levels, unemployed) are those who have the most difficulties in accessing the housing market, a situation that has been reported in successive reports since 2017 and which has become more pronounced during the pandemic. Given the uncertainty, they are abandoning the search to a greater extent. On the contrary, those who, due to age, job stability and socioeconomic situation are in a somewhat more comfortable position, may now consider looking for housing (for rent or purchase) and therefore gain prominence in the post-pandemic claimant profile. Or, there may also be professionals who have worked from home without reducing their income, and who have decided to change the home for another (also for rent or purchase) with one more room to set up an office.
What do buyers want?
The confinement has sparked a new interest for property buyers that have outdoor spaces; balconies, terraces, patios, gardens, etc. Data on how buyers’ motivations before and after the health crisis have changed confirms this.
If asked to provide a single reason why they are looking for a home now, the fundamental question for one in four claimants (24% pre-corona, 26% post-corona) is the price of the house. The second place is occupied by the aforementioned outdoor spaces, which before the pandemic was the main reason for searching for 11% of the applicants and which is now for 17% of them; a significant increase of six percentage points.
The change in the situation of cohabiting (living alone or with a partner) has lost importance as the main reason: from 22% in pre-covid demand to 15% in subsequent demand.