2020 has been an exceptionally difficult year for everyone, and that difficulty spans almost every facet of daily life. One of the biggest challenges has been maintaining (or reestablishing) financial stability: with so many people left furloughed or outright unemployed, governments throughout the world have needed to step in to prevent mass homelessness.
Since a standard mortgage is a significant financial burden, you might think that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed people away from home ownership. After all, renting is cheaper in the short term, and homes can still be repossessed. But perhaps that isn’t the case. To the contrary, the lockdown period may have encouraged people to save for deposits. Could this be so?
To neatly answer the titular question: yes. In all likelihood, the lockdown period has made home ownership seem more appealing, not less. Here’s why:
Even though many people have spent months stuck at home this year, they’ve found that they’ve still been able to do most of the things they would traditionally have needed to go out for. They can handle their finances, speak to friends, further their careers, and pore through free resources covering countless topics — including how to save for a house.
Saving for a deposit can seem very daunting, after all, and it’s easy to think that you need some kind of expertise to manage it. Combine the presence of myriad tutorials and guides (like this one) with the glut of online services that are simplifying the process of buying a home in various ways (it’s now possible, for instance, to use an online mortgage broker such as Breezeful instead of needing to visit a broker in person) and you have a recipe for success.
Those online resources don’t just allow people to learn about buying property: they also make it possible to work remotely all the time instead of just on occasion, and the pandemic has made it abundantly clear that most companies can work remotely without losing productivity. Why does this matter to potential homeowners? It’s simple: being able to work from home massively opens up the range of viable properties.
If you can work remotely, you don’t need to worry about commuting. You can look at properties hundreds of miles away from the company office. You can find a house in a cheap area, set up a mobile data connection, and have no issues getting your work done. As people realise that they don’t need to buy locally, they see the increased viability of putting down roots.
Lastly, everything that’s gone wrong due to the pandemic has shown people the value of long-term planning. On the whole, it’s still better to be a homeowner than a renter, even when you start to struggle with payments: after all, government support was provided to both. And the more of your mortgage you pay off, the safer your position becomes.
Now that people know how quickly a position of financial comfort can fall apart, they’ll be rather more cautious with their spending. Instead of putting all their disposable income towards nights out, expect to see them squirrel some of it away and put it towards long-term investments.
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