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Research Publication

Housing Insights: Financial Benefits Motivated Homebuying During the Pandemic, More So Than Space or Location Preferences

January 11, 2023

Single-family housing was an unintended beneficiary of the pandemic and its associated policy response. During the pandemic, mortgage rates reached historically low levels, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovering around 3% though the end of 2021. Despite a low inventory-to-sales ratio during this time period by historical standards, as well as rising home prices, both home sales and purchase mortgage originations reached record highs in 2021. Anecdotal and analytical evidence suggest that the pandemic prompted people to move from smaller housing units in high-density city centers to larger homes in lower-density areas; and this was particularly true of first-time homebuyers. Our researchers studied this phenomenon, and our survey findings illustrate the primacy of financial considerations over the benefits of physical space and location in influencing homebuying behavior during the pandemic.

Read the full Housing Insights publication here.