Comfort & Convenience Reign in New Housing Trends Amid COVID-19

New Consumer Survey Reveals Current Home Buying Attitudes of the 50-Plus Population

 Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), the largest full-service residential real estate services company in the United States, announced AARP® Real Estate Benefits from Realogy, the first-ever real estate benefits program designed for the nearly 38 million AARP members, is now live. The new offering allows AARP members to receive $300 to $5,500 when buying or selling a home with a participating agent affiliated with one of Realogy’s trusted residential real estate brands, including Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, Century 21®, Coldwell Banker®, Corcoran® and ERA®.

To support the launch of the program, Realogy commissioned a consumer survey in May among 1,106 American adults, examining opinions of the general American population as well as those specific to Americans ages 50 and older. The survey examined the changing home buying attitudes of Americans in the wake of COVID-19. As work, play and education turn to virtual means, the survey findings indicate increasing comfort with virtual tours and home inspections, including among Americans age 50 and older, along with a shift in American aspirations toward suburban living.

According to the survey, 82% of Americans 50 and older say that receiving an average of $1,250[1] through a real estate cash benefits program would be at least somewhat meaningful. Americans 50 and older are more likely than Americans under 50 to say if they were to receive $1,250, the money would be put into an emergency savings fund (29% vs 22%). Additional findings from the consumer survey reveal a generational divide between those under the age of 50 and those 50+. Older Americans prioritize different things in the home, indicate different moving location preferences, and have different plans for how they would use additional monetary funds.

Consumer Survey Highlights – Home Buying and Selling During COVID-19

Virtual Tours and Inspections May Ease Home Buying Decision Making

  • Over half (59%) of Americans say they would be comfortable putting their home on the market for sale virtually, and more than a quarter (27%) of the 50+ Generation are comfortable buying a home having seen it only virtually and not in person.
  • Among Americans who are uncomfortable or only somewhat comfortable buying a home virtually, a majority say virtual tours of the home (59%), virtual home inspections (51%) and detailed neighborhood information and high-quality photos (46%) would ease their decision to buy a home virtually.

Americans 50+ Prioritize the Home Differently Amidst COVID-19

  • Comfort and Convenience Reign Supreme: Americans 50+ are more likely than Americans under 50 to say top priority features include: laundry in the home (69% vs. 52%), a patio / deck (56% vs. 39%), accessibility and convenience (46% vs. 25%) and an open layout (48% vs. 36%). Most Americans of all ages say a yard or access to outdoor space is a priority.
  • Sticking to TP: Only 9% of Americans 50+ say a bidet in the bathroom would be a priority.
Dreams of Urban Living Shift to the Suburbs
  • Among those who currently live in an urban area, nearly 40% are thinking about moving to a suburban or rural area in the future due to COVID-19.
  • 67% of Americans ages 50+ say they plan to stay in the same type of area they live in now compared to 44% of Americans under the age of 50.
  • Americans ages 50+ are more likely than Americans under the age of 50 to say, based on living through COVID-19, the most ideal place to live when looking to move is a ranch or single floor home (48% vs 28%).
Retirement Still in the Cards?
  • Only 8% say that the coronavirus has caused them to move back their retirement date, while 3% say they plan to retire early. Over one-third (34%) of those surveyed say they have no current plans to retire.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted by G&S Business Communications on behalf of Realogy. The survey was fielded on May 8-9, 2020, with a sample of 1,106 U.S. adults ages 18+.

[1] According to NAR, the median home sale price was $280,600 as of March 2020. The $1,250 represents the amount a home buyer or seller of a median priced home would receive if they participated in the AARP Real Estate Benefits Program from Realogy.