The New Normal: 2022 Real Estate Trends Report

April 13, 2022 — Written by Chelsea Goyer

Welcome to the second installment of our real estate trends report, where we’re providing an in-depth look at how today’s modern consumer and housing trends have evolved since 2021. 

In our last report, we predicted that 2021 would bring even greater adoption of modern real estate experiences. As with many aspects of daily life, such as buying groceries, hailing a ride, and even buying a car, the home buying and selling experience has gone digital. Consumers across the United States are increasingly turning to tech-driven tools to help them find, tour, and buy homes sight unseen. 

While many new buying and selling habits were inspired by the pandemic, our report illustrates that the real estate experience has undergone a generational shift to digitization—and these changes are here to stay. Welcome to what we’re calling The New Normal: Real Estate 2.0. Here’s what we uncovered, along with what we expect to see throughout the remainder of the year and beyond—and even some experiences from one of our own customers about what that might look like:

Buyers remain resilient

Despite the highly competitive housing market, people across the country are dedicated to continuing their homebuying and selling journey. We like to call this empowered approach to home ownership “real estate resiliency.”  

Overall, we found that the effects of external factors such as rising interest rates and inflation are impacting consumers’ decisions—but perhaps less than expected. Less than one-half, or 42% of current buyers say that rising interest rates will impact their buying timeline and decisions. Millennials, followed by Gen X, feel most strongly about this (46% and 42%, respectively). Potentially due to their more extensive experience with buying and selling homes, Baby Boomers are more likely than other age groups to state that rising rates would not impact their timeline and decision. 

Hello, suburbs

After receiving a promotion at work, Eric P. decided it was time to make the move his family had been dreaming about. With two growing kids, his wife had her heart set on more space—and a walk-in pantry was top of her list. Like many other homebuyers, they decided they wanted a new construction home. They turned to Lennar, one of the nation’s leading homebuilders, to build a home in a suburb of Minnesota. 

Like Eric, we have seen more consumers choose to buy a home in the suburbs over the past year. In addition to the opportunity to get more house for their budget, suburbs usually check all top three features buyers say they want in a new neighborhood: access to the outdoors and parks, walkability, and close proximity to family and friends.

Millennials are driving this trend, with 37% saying they’re considering a move to a suburb, compared to just 22% in 2020. Relatively more Millennial sellers feel that their remote work allows them the flexibility to move elsewhere, which may explain this shift. They are now just as happy to join Gen X and Baby Boomers in the suburbs.

Resizing is driving relocation

Among home shoppers, top motivations to buy remain in line with findings from our last report: resizing (42%), a desire to own (40%), or wanting a home with different features (28%). 

For sellers, their reasons for moving vary by generation. Millennials and Gen X name upgrading to a newer or bigger home, or one that’s closer to a specific school district, as their top motivators. For Baby Boomers, downsizing and moving closer to friends and family are driving their decisions. Across generations, sellers are less motivated by financial needs, such as lower mortgage rates, needing cash, or job-related concerns, than they were when we surveyed them at the end of 2020. 

Digital tools are here to stay

About 7 in 10 buyers are dream scrolling for homes a few times per week, or more. Millennials outpace other cohorts, with 72% browsing for real estate actively. And, they’re turning to less traditional sources, too: 26% of Millennials regularly use TikTok, while even more use Instagram (33%) and Facebook (36%) a few times per week or more. No matter the obstacle, buyers remain focused on finding their dream home.

Even as the world evolves post-COVID, convenience reigns supreme. Nearly all (9 in 10) of those surveyed who would use a virtual or remote tour still want those touring options even after the pandemic. 

There’s also continued enthusiasm for tech-driven real estate services. 73% of survey respondents would consider buying a home through a real estate technology company—consistent with sentiment in 2021. When it comes to current homeowners, most consumers would consider selling their home through a real estate tech company, with 42% of Millennials saying it is extremely likely they would do so. Overall, younger cohorts tend to be more comfortable with buying and selling digitally—more than 70% of Millennials and Gen X vs. about 50% of Baby Boomers. 

There has been a slight shift in sellers’ perceived benefits in working with a tech company like Opendoor. Now, 22% of survey respondents most value “skipping the repairs,” while choosing close dates remained consistent with 2021 (19%). This signals a desire for consumers to choose their benefits in an à la carte fashion.

The modern buying and selling journey

Across generations, a one-stop-shop versus working with multiple parties for a real estate transaction is the ideal option for most consumers. The large majority of those surveyed—82% of sellers on average—would prefer to use one company for all real estate transactions.

Eric, the homebuyer who turned to Lennar to build his family a more spacious home in the suburbs, was able to sell his current home directly to Opendoor for a cash offer. And because we partner with leading homebuilders like Lennar across the country, he was able to line up his closing dates to perfectly time his family’s move. No repairs, no showings, and no need to move twice. It was a true one-stop-shop experience.

That’s why we introduced Opendoor Complete in late 2021. As consumers become more comfortable with using digital tools throughout their home buying and selling journeys, convenience and flexibility have become key at every stage. With Opendoor Complete, selling, buying, and closing are combined into one simple experience so consumers can move with ease. Just like Eric, Opendoor offers consumers a way to sell fast and hassle-free, make an offer as strong as cash, and avoid double mortgages and moves.

We’re proud to help buyers and sellers in 46 markets around the country start a new chapter, on their own terms and on their own timeline. As digital real estate is becoming the new normal, it’s clear these buying and selling habits–many of them developed in light of COVID–are here for the long haul.

Are you searching for your dream home? Download the Opendoor app to begin searching for homes and see how we can help you save time and money in finding the home of your dreams. 

Chelsea Goyer is the Head of Real Estate Trends for Opendoor.

Methodology: The Opendoor Survey was conducted online by Qualtrics in February 2022 among a national sample of 600 U.S. homebuyers looking to buy in the next 12 months and among a national sample of 600 U.S. home sellers looking to sell in the next 12 months. Quota sampling was used to ensure a demographically balanced sample. For the purposes of this report, Millennials are defined as ages of 29-39, Generation X is defined as ages 40 to 55 and Baby Boomers are defined as ages 56 to 74.