As we close out 2022, many pandemic-driven real estate trends we grew accustomed to – from bidding wars and historically low interest rates to extra space for at-home gyms and offices – have cooled. It’s clear that priorities, preferences and long-standing traditions in the real estate market are shifting.
We wondered how many of these trends will follow us into 2023, and after checking in with homeowners across the country, we found five noteworthy trends. Read on for our national take, or get state-specific findings from home buyers in California, Florida, New York, and Texas.
Five real estate trends that will rule in 2023
1. Building an emergency fund is key
Reflecting a grueling couple of years and an uncertain economy, the top priority for homeowners is building an emergency fund (25%). Even so, despite rising interest rates and the threat of inflation, saving for vacations (20%), cars (13%) and new homes (12%) round out the top priorities.
One way Opendoor can help homeowners build savings is to make the process of buying a home as seamless as possible. In Austin, Sarah and her husband were renters for years, and eager to get out of the rent cycle. As they began looking in earnest to buy early in 2022, they were overwhelmed by the super-hot Austin market. They monitored listings closely, found an ideal home, and immediately put their first offer ever using Opendoor’s cash offers. “The whole experience felt like a fairy tale,” Sarah says. “We didn’t think home ownership was possible for us — and then to win our dream home on our first offer in the craziest market in the U.S. — wow. We’re finally able to stop wasting money on rent.” Now that they are settled, their priorities can include building up their savings.
2. Cost of living drives location preferences
Nearly half (49%) of respondents across the U.S. told us they would be motivated to move somewhere new for a more affordable cost of living. With remote work becoming more prevalent, people are making this a reality. According to our research, home buyers interested in relocating for the right price might consider moving to less expensive areas in Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia, or emerging markets such as Katy, TX; Yukon, OK; and Loganville, GA.
Another third (34%) from our survey said they would relocate for a lifestyle change, such as moving closer to outdoor recreation or to join a close-knit local community. One-quarter (25%) of respondents say they would move for love — a commitment to romance strongest with Gen Z respondents (44%) compared to Millennials (29%) and Boomers (12%). No reason is out of reach with Opendoor’s cash offers to sell your current home!
3. Classic style is always in
Our surveyed homeowners across the country made one thing clear: when it comes to designing their homes, classic style is the way to go. People favor farmhouse (wood elements, white tones) or bohemian (natural light, hardwood floors, house plants) styles. When we analyzed which decor style will be trending early next year, 25% of our respondents said they took design inspiration from Chip and Joanna Gaines. Surprisingly, trendy designs influenced by pop culture – from Taylor Swift’s cottagecore to the luxe looks on the Netflix series Selling Sunset – did not spark much interest from respondents.
4. Location wins out over at-home gyms and offices
Amenities like outdoor space that became popular during the pandemic, are now priorities for just 17%. Most surprisingly, a mere 8% listed an at-home office, at-home gym and more square footage as top priorities. But location is something buyers continue to prioritize — 40% of respondents are looking for a good proximity to work, schools, and shops. In select markets, Opendoor can help you buy, sell and move in one place so you can find the right home in a perfect location for you.
5. Bucking old real estate traditions
In an overheated market, would-be buyers often craft compelling personal offer letters to get a leg up. In our survey, 35% of respondents indicate this dreaded custom might fade away in 2023. Today’s home shoppers are looking for new ways to approach the process more directly. Products like Opendoor Exclusives, which provides homebuyers in Texas with direct access on a first-come, first-serve basis to Opendoor-owned homes as well as seller-owned inventory, lets you skip having to be overly competitive.
Other old stand-bys, like having to put 20% down or being limited to the suburbs for more space – are requirements that forward-looking homeowners hope are finally put to bed.
How the largest states stack up
We also took a deep dive into four key Opendoor states to see how each one compares to a national perspective.
Floridians prioritize their amenities as you might expect, ranking location (28%) nearly on par with outdoor living (25%), where respondents elsewhere ranked location 15-30% higher than any other amenity. Floridians also:
- Feel especially strongly about quitting offer letters, with almost half (45%) selecting it as the most outdated real estate trend
- One-quarter (25%) would move somewhere new for a local cash incentive and some believe they might save more for an emergency fund by buying in a city like Tampa (January 2022 data), where mortgages are typically less expensive than rent
Living in one of the most expensive states, more than half (58%) of California would be motivated to move elsewhere for a more affordable cost of living. For homeowners interested in relocating for the right price, areas such as Sacramento are worth exploring.
- Believe that putting a 20% deposit down on a house is even more outdated (26%) than writing an offer letter (25%) or getting real estate advice from family and friends (24%)
- Contrary to national attitudes, see moving to the suburbs for more space as the most outdated real estate trend
More than any other state, one-fifth (21%) of New York State respondents believe prioritizing space and square footage over proximity to work is outdated, despite the rise in hybrid and remote work.
New Yorkers also:
- Would move somewhere new for a more affordable cost of living, according to 59% of statewide respondents
- Could potentially build an emergency fund by buying a home in a city such as Syracuse (January 2022 data), where mortgages are typically less expensive than rent
- Draw interior design inspiration from Martha Stewart and embrace an , updated classic aesthetic (“Grand Millennial”), according to (20%) of respondents
Respondents in Texas are almost equally motivated to relocate for a more affordable cost of living (38%) and a lifestyle change (36%). For the 35% of Texans whose priority is building an emergency fund, buying a home in a city like El Paso (January 2022 data), where mortgages are typically less expensive than rent, may be a consideration.
- Believe engaging in a bidding war is the most outdated real estate trend
- Ranked at-home amenities, including a gym, office and more square footage, as a very low priority (5%)
No matter what your motivation for moving is or housing style preferences, our digital platform can provide a piece of mind that homeowners can depend on. Learn more about our availability across 50+ markets by visiting our website.
Chelsea Goyer is the national head of brokerage at Opendoor.
Methodology: Opendoor conducted a survey in August 2022 among a nationally-representative sample of 1,081 current homeowners ages 18 to 65+ years old.