As buyers start to re-evaluate what they want, and likely what they need from their housing, it’s important to consider what the COVID 19 impact on home buying will be. Data is looking pretty unanimous that workers feel as though working from home policies will have long standing implications on their work / life balance, with 1/3 of Seattleites planning to work remotely for at least a year. The latest Residential Global Market Sentiment Survey from Savills meanwhile reports that 86% of respondents feel that they expect to increase working from home after coronavirus, with 73% also indicating that green space will be more important to them.
So what does it likely mean for buyer behavior in the Seattle real estate market? That same Savills report indicates that 61% of respondents anticipate an increase in demand in rural and suburban areas. As buyers contemplate likely changes to their routines and work patterns, it is highly probable that demand for single family housing will increase as high density living gets shunned. With many companies extending work from home policies, and some such as Twitter indicating they will be indefinite, proximity to work will be less important. This doesn’t necessarily mean the condo real estate market in Seattle is in dire straights – the impact will certainly be more pronounced in higher density cities. It will likely however mean that developers are going to have to cater to new expectations such as touchless building security and enhanced HVAC systems.
In a recent blog post, I discussed how buyers are not shying away from the market and while sold transactions were down year over year, they are steadily increasing as we come out of restrictions. So COVID-19 impact on home buying in Seattle won’t impact demand as much as behavior. High demand neighborhoods like Queen Anne, Magnolia, Madison Park, Montlake etc will continue to see similar high demand. But further out neighborhoods and even counties are likely to see a higher demand as buyers look beyond city centers in their search.