Wednesday, November 25, 2020 1:53 am

The impacts of coronavirus on home, community

By Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki | Builder

As most of the nation was under stay-at-home orders through March and April, economists, business leaders, and the media predicted the impact of the pandemic on airlines, hospitality, entertainment, restaurants, office space, retail, and small local businesses. There was not much talk, however, about what the novel coronavirus could mean for the residential housing industry, even as most of the nation was spending 24/7 living, working, and learning in their homes.

“Home” was suddenly everything, and the silence about the industry was deafening. Even as crushing levels of unemployment mounted, online searches and virtual home shopping increased. Was online home shopping a new form of entertainment in addition to Netflix binges and Zoom happy hours, or was it replacing in-person model home and community tours, and thus evidence of new consumer demand? The only way to know for sure was to go directly to consumers and ask.

The America at Home Study, conducted from April 23 to April 30, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 3,001 consumers 25 to 74 years old with household incomes of $50,000-plus; 77% are homeowners, 20% are renters, and 3% currently live with relatives or friends. When the survey was conducted, nearly half (48%) of the respondents or another household member had lost a job or income as a result of COVID-19.

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