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How the Pandemic Has Changed Our View of Homes

The saying goes “Home is where the heart is” is a timeless one, and a motto further backed by Unison’s new "State of the American Homeowner" survey. The analysis found that homeowners are using their homes as offices, gyms, schools, and much more due to the pandemic, and as a result, nearly two-thirds (64%) of those polled say living through the pandemic has made their home more important to them now than ever before.

Unison surveyed 2,000 homeowners in the U.S., and found that homeownership brings positive feelings, with 91% of homeowners saying they feel secure, stable, or successful owning a home. Seven in 10 (70%) homeowners felt emotionally attached to the homes that have kept them safe over the past year—with 51% calling it a "key part of their life"—a significant increase compared to before the pandemic when 58% of homeowners had an emotional attachment to their home.

Millennials were more likely than older generations to have an emotional connection to their home, and were more likely to put their future saving and retirement plans at risk to keep it. Of those polled, 78% of millennials felt emotionally attached to their home, as opposed to 70% of Generation Xer’s, and 69% of Baby Boomers. Over half of millennial homeowners (53%) say they used to view their home as a burden, but now view it as one of the most important things in their lives.

"The American Dream of homeownership has taken on increased importance as the home has become the center of our daily lives, bringing our work, shopping, schools and gyms into where we live," said Unison CEO Thomas Sponholtz. "Many renters left their city apartments for larger houses in the suburbs, and many homeowners took on renovations, making their home more suitable to their expanding needs. As many have endured exceptional life and economic uncertainty and managed new or changing needs for their homes, it has never been a more important time to re-evaluate your investments as well as how you finance your home and life. This absolutely includes having a smarter way to tap into your home equity without debt in order to best adapt to your changing life situation and plans."

As the home becomes the base of all operations, remodeling has become key in order to adapt to this new normal to support their expanding use.

Nearly half (45%) of homeowners polled were planning a home improvement during 2021 to make their home more comfortable, as 72% of those who refinanced taking advantage of record-low rates on their home in 2020 are planning an improvement in 2021. Thirty-three percent of mortgage-holding homeowners would tap into their home equity for a renovation or improvement—a significant increase from pre-pandemic times when 21% said the same.

Click here to view Unison’s "State of the American Homeowner" report.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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