Rethinking ‘home’ during COVID-19

Real-Estate Watch

By CLINT FREEMAN

As Ridgecrest and Kern County move toward re-opening business in the red tier home sales continue to glide in record numbers. 63 site-built homes sold last month which is a new high record for our valley. During the home buying spree both locally and nationwide, consumers are rethinking the meaning of “home” in this era of Covid19. What do homeowners want out of their living space now that remote work, home schooling, and historically low mortgage rates are beginning to be the norm? Has home shopping changed at all during these unsettling times? Realtor.com recently surveyed homeowners nationwide and there are some interesting highlights.

For starters, men found there to be a lack of dedicated workspace at home, and sharing living space with other family member during their work-at-home days is a challenge. On the other hand, women were more consistently reminded of home improvement projects that they wanted to start or complete. A larger percentage of women than men noted they wanted to update the kitchen and start and complete home enhancement projects both inside and out.

Some of the greatest aspects of sheltering at home were that there was extra downtime to catch up on TV shows, take up a new hobby, or learn something new. Also ranking high for both men and women was the lack of a need to shower and get dressed every day for work. Spending more time with family and engaging with friends or family virtually also was noted as an added benefit. The pandemic has caused some to rethink what we do with our time due to a reduced work schedule.

Despite a pandemic in our midst, the majority of consumers are much more optimistic about buying a new home at this time. Younger respondents showed larger optimism compared to older aged groups. And urban buyers were more optimistic about buying a home in the current market versus their rural counterparts. Lower mortgage rates have spurred a shift to higher priced homes. Homes with garages ranked as the most important feature for buyers. A quiet area, renovated kitchen, large backyard, and an open floor plan also ranked the highest in what home buyers seek.

Serious home shoppers during Covid19 still check website listings every day. The majority will make a 20 percent down payment and will submit a large earnest money deposit to secure the home when submitting a contract. About 25 percent of buyers will offer above the seller’s asking price to secure the deal, and that same percentage of buyers will offer all cash. 65 percent of buyers are seeking a home priced under $350,000. The survey reveals that despite our pandemic and turbulent times, home ownership still remains an important component of the American Dream.

Source: realtor.com Home Buying 2020: Consumer Preferences Post-COVID

RIDGECREST FACTS AS OF OCTOBER 2020

• To date there are 41 homes on the market ranging from $79,900 to $650,000.

• Past three months’ price per square foot average of sold single-family homes: College Heights $170; NW $148: NE $127; SE $132; SW $149; RC Heights $147.

CALIFORNIA FAST FACTS

• California median home price: $706,900; Lowest median home price: Siskiyou $260,000; Ridgecrest $260,000; Highest median home price by region: San Mateo $1,812,500 Source C.A.R.

Story First Published: 2020-10-23