2020 RealtyHop Annual Survey: How COVID-19 Has Affected Homeowners and Renters

Posted June 11th, 2020

At RealtyHop, we’re constantly trying to uncover trends to better understand real estate owners, renters, and market conditions. Along these lines, we’ve compiled our first-ever RealtyHop Annual U.S. Real Estate Survey, to help understand opinions regarding a number of topics related to real estate; these include views on rent versus buying, future plans for purchasing a home, economic effects of market conditions, and more. Every month this year, we’ll explore a new subset of our data from the survey to help further shed light on the current state of the U.S. real estate market.

For this report, we’ll dive into how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected both renters and homeowners so far this year. Analyzing our data uncovered both surprising and unsurprising insights, including how location, income, and race have affected how the pandemic has shaped people’s lives.
 

How COVID-19 Has Affected Living Situations

 

We asked the question “How has your housing situation been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak?”.

Respondents to the survey had the ability to choose multiple answers that were given, or provide their own. This question resulted in the following distribution from all respondents:

 
A majority (55.8%) of respondents surprisingly said that their living situation remained unchanged due to the pandemic. However, 22.6% of respondents noted that their home buying plans had now become delayed, while 12.9% said that they could no longer afford rent payments.
 

Black and Hispanic Populations Have Been Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19

 

However, overall statistics on this question did not paint the full picture. When comparing responses by race, it was seen that Black/African American and Hispanic respondents were considerably more likely to have their housing situation negatively affected by the pandemic, when compared with their white and Asian counterparts.

When asked about how the pandemic had affected home buying plans for the future, 26% of Black/African American, and 26.5% of Hispanic/Latino respondents said the pandemic had delayed their plans. This compared to only 16.5% of White respondents, and 17.4% of Asian/Pacific Islander respondents.

 
Similarly, when asked whether the pandemic had affected their financial ability to pay rent, 20% of Black and African American, and 14.7% of Hispanic/Latino respondents said they could no longer afford rent, compared to just 8.9% of White, and 13.1% of Asian/Pacific Islander respondents.

 

 
 
“In other words, Black & African American respondents were 2.25x more likely than White respondents to not be able to afford rent due to the effects of COVID-19.”

 
 
 

Sentiments Regarding Urban Living After the Coronavirus Outbreak

 
Survey respondents were presented with the statement “I am less comfortable living in an urban area post COVID-19”, and asked to respond on a Likert scale (strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree).
 

Overall Responses

 
Responses across all submissions were observed with the following distribution:

 

The most common response to the given statement was “Neutral” at 36.4%. This was followed by “Disagree” at 19.8%, and “ Strongly Disagree” at 15.7%.

When looking at responses from a Positive/Neutral/Negative sentiment, 28.1% were less comfortable, 36.4% neutral, and 35.5% comfortable with living in an urban area post-pandemic.
 

Sentiment by Race

 
When looking at responses by racial demographic, a decent amount of variation occurred compared with total aggregate responses, despite “Neutral” remaining the most common answer among all races.

Sentiment by Income

 
Responses to this statement were also split up by reported annual household income. Households with annual incomes of $45k and below disagreed with the statement at a higher rate compared with other households, meaning they still felt comfortable living in urban environments.

This was at odds with high earning households with incomes above $125k, who were more likely to respond that they were less comfortable living in an urban area post the coronavirus outbreak when compared with other income bracket households.

Methodology

 
The RealtyHop Annual U.S. Real Estate Survey was sent to RealtyHop and RentHop users in June 2020. The group included both renters and homeowners, aged 18+ across the United States. A sample of 1,072 respondents at a 95% confidence interval was used to compile the dataset from which this report was generated. Respondents were presented with a series of demographic, housing, real estate market, personal consumption, and COVID-19 impact related questions.