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New homeowners are getting rushed into buying a home, and 75% of them feel they got a raw deal

February 9, 2022, 9:04 PM UTC

The pandemic-era housing market is pressuring homeseekers into buying houses fast to beat the competition. But those snap decisions are leaving new homeowners with major regrets.

About 75% of recent homebuyers have regrets about their new homes, according to a new survey from Zillow. And the top regret is unplanned work or maintenance on new properties.

A frantic housing market with low inventory and sky-high prices is pushing many prospective buyers to make decisions more quickly than they are comfortable with. And many new homeowners are now saddled with homes that need more care than they had been prepared to give, both psychologically and financially.

“The pandemic-driven feeding frenzy in the for-sale market added challenges for buyers, especially those purchasing for the first time,” Zillow population scientist Manny Garcia said in a press release. “This research suggests many of those buyers ended up in a home that was less than ideal.”

Zillow interviewed more than 2,000 people across the country, all of whom had either purchased a home in the past two years, or were planning on doing so within the next 12 months.

As for regrets about the home buying experience itself, nearly three quarters of home owners said they should have spent more time searching and evaluating different options.

The COVID pandemic has driven the real estate market through the roof. Home prices are at all-time highs, and the inventory of new homes listed is at an all-time low. And in the middle of a supply crunch, demand is rising fast as a large cohort of millennials begin to age into their prime home-buying years.

The combination of high demand and low supply is fueling some of the highest home prices in decades. The fierce competition means that people are scooping up houses as soon as they can find them, with homes selling on average 29 days faster than the pre-pandemic pace.  

The intense pressure of today’s housing market is taking its toll on homeseekers. The Zillow survey found that “buyer burnout” is affecting 72% of prospective homeowners today, who feel the need to take periodic breaks from a numbing and disheartening process. 

Mortgage rates are expected to rise over the next few months as the Fed has signaled that it will raise interest rates in the spring, which would help cool down the hot housing market. However, supply chain snafus for resin and lumber are expected to keep inventory low. And because of inflation, home prices are likely to keep rising in 2022, albeit at a slower rate. 

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