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Key Takeaways from Real Estate in 2020

Just as clothes go in and out of fashion, so do real estate trends. 2020 saw its fair share of new ways to shop for homes, high levels of demand, and even a few myths busted, according to Zillow [1]. Here are some key takeaways from real estate in 2020.

Virtual Shopping for Homes

While virtual tours aren’t necessarily new, the pandemic propelled them into popularity. Zillow 3D Home virtual tours jumped up 750% the month after many cities enacted shelter-in-place mandates. And the feature remained high throughout the spring.

Real estate agents jumped on the virtual meeting trend to show houses to potential buyers via video chat. And renters could even search, tour, apply for, and lease their next home all from the comfort and safety of their old home.

Supply and Demand

There’s already been a lower amount of inventory, but the pandemic convinced many potential sellers to stay put, placing even more pressure on the homes that did become available. One out of every five homes sold went for higher than the listed price, and homes were selling at a faster pace than they were two years ago.

And this intense demand isn’t going anywhere fast. Low mortgage rates, millennials looking to upgrade, and the Great Reshuffling will continue to make 2021 a seller’s market.

No Mass Exodus

It was originally thought that people were fleeing big cities in droves for smaller towns, bigger homes, and wide-open spaces. But those reports were premature. While there are a few markets where the suburbs are outperforming the cities—New York City and San Francisco, for example—the majority of the country saw the suburbs and the cities were performing the same.

If there’s any shift from urban to suburban, it’s with rentals. In fact, rent in big cities did show a significant drop since February, indicating job loss and unemployment from the pandemic.

People’s New Preferences

Since families are spending so much more time in their homes—and together—privacy has become a luxury. Homebuilders are predicting that open floor plans aren’t going to be as popular as they have been—now people desire walls to separate at-home workers from at-home schoolers.

Searches for home offices have been on the rise, as well as large outdoor spaces and well-equipped kitchens.

2020 was definitely a year for the record books. It’ll be interesting to see what trends have staying power in 2021.