Defying high unemployment and an economic recession, the housing market has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. That isn’t likely to let up heading into the winter months, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®.
“This winter may be one of the best winters for sales activity,” Yun said. “It won’t match summer or spring sales numbers, but on a winter-to-winter comparison, this could be one of the best breakout years just based on the fact that pending contracts are at such a higher level.”
Mortgage applications also are up 20% year over year, which reflect buyers in the pipeline that have been approved for mortgages and are ready to buy. Home prices are up too.
What’s next for 2021? A persistent housing shortage will likely keep home prices elevated, while new- and existing-home sales will continue to rise as record low mortgage rates and a work-from-home trend give housing markets a boost, Yun said. Low mortgage rates are key against higher prices: One major factor contributing to the hot housing market has been record-low mortgage rates, under 3%, said Yun. He predicts rates will continue to stay low into 2021. Mortgage rates are helping housing affordability balance against rising home prices.
Here’s Yun’s forecast for the housing market heading into 2021, and how it fares against his 2020 end-of- year forecast:
Health and wellness are more important to homeowners than ever before, especially as many cities and states aim to progress into the next phases of re-opening. These days, there is a high demand for antimicrobial materials in the home. Buyers are seeking finishes that are easier to clean such as unique stone surfaces rather than porous, delicate wood floors and cabinetry.
Also, we’re seeing a new trend with people desiring an “Amazon” room or “Package room” – a dedicated room to store online deliveries in large single-family homes. This functions both as storage space and a separate part of the home in which packages can sit for a few days and become “decontaminated” before any of the residents come into contact with them (coronaviruses can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours)
The demand for an Amazon room is centered around a desire to keep the home as healthy and safe as possible, and these days, that starts from the entrance of the home. Additionally, people are seeking out higher-grade filters, for both air and water, as well as smart lighting to better mimic our natural environment. With the home being our sanctuary, it is important to make it as healthy as possible.
4 Elements That Support Wellness at Home by Becky Harris, designer and blogger @ Hatch: The Design Public Blog
At fall October, 2020’s High Point Market, a keynote talk informed designers on how to help their clients promote health at home. The Intersection of Wellness and Home Design was one of the educational keynote talks. Experts on the panel for design professionals discussed ways to improve health, wellness and comfort with style, and they shared their perspectives on the best approaches. Here are 4 key points they focused on for promoting good physical and mental health through home design.