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Pandemic Shook Up Buyer Demand – But How Much?

46% of Americans say COVID-19 shook up their moving plans. Those most likely to move are renters (25%), urban area dwellers (29%) and people recently laid off (32%).

NEW YORK – The economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak is having a continuing effect on mobility, encouraging some to find cheaper housing while persuading others to stay put a little longer.

Some 46% of Americans say the coronavirus outbreak influenced their moving plans in some way, according to a new survey from ApartmentList. Based on 10,000 responses over the past three months, the population segments most likely to move are renters (25%), residents of dense urban areas (29%), and those who have been laid off (32%).

“Many low-income Americans will be moving out of necessity and, for them, affordable housing options will be difficult to find,” the survey notes.

The U.S. mobility rate has actually been falling for the past 35 years, but the coronavirus may change that for several reasons, economists say. For one thing, more employers may embrace remote working for the long haul, which could untether more Americans and let them move anywhere they wish.

In addition, urban dwellers may desire more space to spread out after months of sheltering in place. And millions of Americans who lost jobs may need to move to a more affordable living situation. In particular, households who earn less than $50,000 annually are the most likely to say they need to move. The majority say they need to find cheaper housing or to pursue better economic opportunity elsewhere.

Nearly 30% of respondents living in a high-density urban area say the pandemic is prompting them to move by the end of the year, the survey shows.

“This is more than double the rate of those living in rural parts of the country, where residents are much more likely to stay put rather than to relocate,” according to the report.

Source: “Coronavirus Is Inspiring Some to Move, and Many to Stay Put,” Apartment List (June 23, 2020)

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