Nearly every industry has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the housing market is no exception. Things look very different than they did just a few months ago, so those who had been planning to purchase a home in 2020 may be questioning whether it’s still a good time. The answer will likely depend on your unique situation, but there are some (near) universal pros and cons to consider.
Mortgage rates have fallen to historically low levels. It’s hard to believe, but a generation ago, in the early 1980s, mortgage rates reached a high of 18%. Luckily, if you’re considering buying a home now, mortgage rates are lower than they’ve been in a very long time. And the downward trend doesn’t show signs of stopping; Realtor.com predicts mortgage rates may dip under 3% by the end of 2020.
Home is more important than ever. With social distancing becoming the new norm and more of us working from home, it’s a great time to invest in where you live. There’s nothing like a quarantine to make you crave a bit more space and your own personal oasis — or at least your own home office. If you’re feeling cramped or unhappy in your current home, now might be the perfect time to make a move.
The home-buying process is a little different.Virtual home tours are becoming much more common, and some have even been transitioning select steps of the buying process to video conference. Not all homebuyers see these changes as negative, however; virtual meetings can save time and be especially convenient for busy schedules.
Limited inventory of older homes. With economic and job uncertainty, homeowners may be less willing to put their homes on the market. According to March 2020 data from Zillow, listings were down almost 10% from 2019 levels. If you’re searching for your forever home, having fewer options might make the process more difficult. One way to bypass this issue is to consider building your own home.
Tougher loan standards. While mortgage rates are at historically low levels, lenders have tightened their loan requirements to mitigate risk. Some are requiring higher credit scores, but the requirements vary depending on the bank, so you may be able to shop around.
So, should you buy a home? It’s certainly a buyer’s market, so if you’ve been planning and saving, and your financial situation is still on solid ground, now might be your time.