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Will Vaccine Boost Listing Inventory?

A large majority of homeowners say they would be comfortable moving to a new home once the COVID-19 vaccine has been widely administered. This survey from Zillow comes amid record-low listing inventory across the nation.

Seventy percent of survey respondents (14 million homeowners) said they’re open to a future move, according to Zillow. That’s a significant bump from the previous 52% who said they felt comfortable considering a move. Among surveyed homeowners, 78% said they expect the vaccine introduction will make them more likely to move.

“We expect that the vaccine rollout will likely boost inventory, as sellers become increasingly willing to move despite Covid-19—resulting in greater numbers of new listings beginning this spring,” said Chris Glynn, principal economist at Zillow. “That injection of inventory could give buyers more options and breathing room in a competitive market. The vaccine, however, will also likely add to already-strong demand, given that most sellers will become buyers as they trade in for a home that better suits their new needs.” 

Low Listing Inventory, Staggering Demand

This is good news for real estate agents, who report historically low listing inventory amid staggering demand. Zillow research predicts that nearly seven million homes will sell in 2021—25% more than sold in 2020—as sellers regain confidence in the market. Zillow reported in fall 2020 that financial anxiety and ongoing uncertainty was keeping some would-be sellers on the sidelines. New survey results indicate that uncertainty decreased between November 2020 and January 2021. 

The vaccine and continued high prices could help feed a ravenous demand for homes this spring. In 2020, existing home sales increased by 5.6% while the amount of overall available listing inventory continued to drop. Demand is being driven by both demographic and pandemic-led factors. For example, Millennials—often considered the largest generational group in the country—are entering their peak home-buying years. 

Research suggests steady demand in the for-sale market will continue after the pandemic ends. The effects of the last year has prompted people to rethink how and where they want to live. Remote work options have opened up new, affordable housing options all over the country. Real estate tech tools like 3D home virtual tours with interactive floor plans enable buyers to remotely explore all options. 

Moving season is quickly approaching, and some experts predict it will be an active one. With Americans ready to move, hopefully getting shots into arms will provide a booster to a troublingly low listing inventory.

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