Increase in Online Home Buying
With record low mortgage rates and a low housing supply due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, there has been substantial competition in the housing market. Buyers, who typically would tour a prospective home in person, have experienced an inability to present an offer on a home as other buyers are increasingly presenting offers on-line.
Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, represent the largest number of home buyers in the United States. Interestingly, this is despite the fact that millennials are also much more likely to have lost work or have entered the gig economy due to the pandemic, both of which make it harder to qualify for a home loan.
Millennials are entering one of the most competitive housing markets as median sales prices of single homes rose more than 10% in 88% of US metro areas according to the National Association of Realtors. With extremely low mortgage rates below 3 %, mortgage applications and refinances are at record levels. Yet, the number of active listings on the market is 40 % lower than it was last year.
The Role of Technology
According to an October survey from Realtor.com., nearly half of millennial home shoppers were planning to buy a home sooner than expected because of the pandemic. As a result of the overall demand on the market, many home purchasers are looking to technology to view 3-D walk-throughs of property Zillow reported the use of 3-D tours on their site rose 750% in the early months of the pandemic. Some are using brokers to film videos of prospective homes. Home buyers are using google to check crime rates and local schools, and using on-line document signing tools to make offers and seal the deal.
Brokers, who were unable to have open houses during the pandemic, have adopted technology as well, offering virtual tours and embracing Instagram and other social platforms to help market homes.
Yet, as we indicated in an earlier blog, there is a need for caution on home purchasing, especially for first time home buyers who may overlook important inspections and due diligence.
The Role of On-line Notarization
With the increased fervor of finding and purchasing a home on-line, the role of on-line notarization is critical. Through on-line notarization, closing documents are executed without the need of physically being at the closing table. Our title company, Weston Title & Escrow, , embraced on-line notarization at the very beginning of the pandemic and continues to offer this service, especially for those home buyers who qualify and may be overseas.
Should you need assistance in purchasing a home, or have a legal question about a potential purchase, feel free to contact our team at Oppenheim Law at 954-384-6114. Our sister company, Weston Title & Escrow, is able to assist you with your closing, and may be reached at 954-384-6168.