WILMINGTON, Del., June 17, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – As the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions continues and interest rates remain low, more than half (56%) of the people who will be in Delaware in May and the Greater Philadelphia area living, interested in home buying this summer and fall despite worrying about the process, shows a WSFS regional mortgage study of 1,007 residents in the area.
The study, a regional tracking survey of Generation X (39-55 years old), Older Millennials (30-38 years old), Young Millennials (25-29), and Generation Z (18-24), examines the behavioral preferences of homeowners and others who plan to buy a home in the area within two years. The study was carried out in two waves starting in February 2020 with a follow-up in late May.
Confident and yet careful
Eight in 10 (83%) of respondents think they know what to do to get a mortgage, with young millennials (85%) showing the most confidence. However, a third (34%) of those who do not own a home today are extremely anxious, and another 52% are somewhat concerned about buying a home (86% overall).
What do you find stressful? 74 percent of all respondents find buying a home to be complicated, as the search for the right house at the right price (81%), the search for the right financing (74%) and the combination of down payment means (73%) fuel their fear.
Men (84%) and women (86%) feel the fear almost equally, and almost two thirds of men and women find buying a home more stressful than getting married.
Finding trustworthy resources also increases the level of stress, as 68% of respondents said finding someone to guide them through the home buying process, such as a real estate agent, caused fear. Likewise, 68% think about finding someone they can trust with mortgage processing.
The effects of COVID-19
Almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents to the May study said COVID-19 affected their plans to buy a home in 2020, with four in 10 (39%) planning to buy a home this summer or fall. 75 percent said low interest rates, easing pandemic restrictions, and a more focused approach to buying a home will encourage them to buy in the next six months.
COVID-19 has also affected homebuyers’ confidence in finding the right professionals to help them, as 80% of second wave respondents said they feared finding someone to guide them through the mortgage process, up from 68 % in February.
Likewise, finding someone to help them with the home buying process, such as a realtor, increased anxiety during the pandemic, with 77% worried about finding the right person, compared to 68% in February.
“Although COVID-19 delayed homebuyers this spring to begin their apartment hunt, they had time to research and consider their current housing needs. Now they are ready to restart the process with people they can trust to guide them through the process, ”said Jeffrey M. Ruben, President of WSFS Mortgage.
Relationships instead of technology
When they first look for a mortgage lender, only about one in ten (12%) respondents look for online banks or online mortgage companies. When the time comes to choose and work with their lender, a staggering 85% prefer a person to walk them through the various steps of the entire mortgage process, and 76% want the opportunity to complete that mortgage process online with a dedicated person who helps them.
Surprisingly, tech-savvy younger buyers are even more inclined to seek personal advice, as shown in 81% of Generation Zers and young millennials who prefer personal help every step of the way.
These younger consumers are also more likely than their older counterparts to choose a regional bank as their lender, with 41% of Gen Zers and 32% of younger millennials indicating their preference for proximity to national or online lenders. However, 49% of respondents prefer working with a national or municipal bank over any other type of lender, including online technology and financial services companies.
“While there are many online resources available to home buyers, the personal, high-touch experience is extremely important to the people in our area,” says Ruben. “We know home buying is an exciting time, but getting a mortgage can be stressful. It is something we only do a few times in our life. It is important to find the right mortgage partner who offers a simple but transparent experience and who strikes the right balance between personal advice and practical technology. “
Home Sweet Home
According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the 2019 US Census, cities with more than half a million people lost a total of nearly 27,000 residents between the ages of 25 and 39 in 2018.
As cities become more difficult to afford, home prices in the greater Delaware and Philadelphia area have remained below the average for the metropolitan markets, and more than half (56%) of respondents agree. 57 percent also say the city of Philadelphia is affordable to buy.
The housing prospects in the region are even more promising for younger home buyers. Sixty-nine percent of Generation Zers and 60% of young millennials agree the area is an affordable place to own a home, suggesting they can stay in the area for the long term.
Ruben sees these trends possibly increasing after the pandemic. “The work and living habits of home buyers have changed due to COVID-19, and many are looking for more space to be able to work from home more often for the foreseeable future. Whether on the outskirts or in the big city, home is still a central place in our lives, perhaps more than ever. “
Overall, 69% of respondents agree that they want to stay in the region when buying a home or moving, with men (73%) preferring the region more than women (67%).
The study was carried out by the research company The Melior Group. The sample includes 1,007 respondents living in the Philadelphia market with five counties (Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery), two counties of New Jersey (Burlington and Camden), and all three counts of Delaware (Kent, Sussex and New Castle ) Life ). All respondents were between 18 and 55 years old. The first wave of the online survey was carried out from February 21st, 2020 to February 27th, 2020 with an error rate of +/- 3.5 percent. Wave two was carried out from May 27, 2020 to February 6, 2020 with an error rate of +/- 6 percent.
About the Melior Group
The Melior Group is a strategic consulting company with extensive industry experience and deep roots in market research. Melior provides insights that turn questions into answers by delivering comprehensive and resilient results that feed directly into strategic decision-making.
Melior was founded in 1982 to bring the disciplines of market research into the service industries. Today, Melior is one of the region’s leading research-based consultancies serving healthcare, government, leisure, tourism, financial services / insurance, and education organizations.
About WSFS Financial Corporation
WSFS Financial Corporation is a multi-billion dollar financial services company. Its main subsidiary, WSFS Bank, is the oldest and largest locally administered bank and trust company, headquartered in Delaware and the Delaware Valley. As of December 31, 2019, WSFS Financial Corporation had $ 12.3 billion in assets on its balance sheet and $ 20.7 billion in assets under management and management. WSFS has 118 offices, including 93 bank offices, in Pennsylvania (55), Delaware (45), New Jersey (16), Virginia (1) and Nevada (1) and provides comprehensive financial services including commercial banking, retail banking, cash management and fiduciary services – and asset management. Other subsidiaries or divisions are Arrow Land Transfer, Cash Connect®, Cypress Capital Management, LLC, Christina Trust of Delaware, NewLane Finance, Powdermill Financial Solutions, West Capital Management, WSFS Institutional Services, WSFS Mortgage, and WSFS Wealth Investments. WSFS Bank, which has served the greater Delaware Valley area since 1832, is one of the 10 oldest banks in the United States that has continuously operated under the same name. For more information, please visit www.wsfsbank.com.
Media contact: Eric Springer