The pandemic proved to be both an opportunity and a challenge for what is now the largest demographic of homebuyers, Millennials, many of whom were entering the market for the very first time.
Millennials surged into the housing market during the pandemic, motivated by lockdown restrictions, work-from-home, low-interest rates, and an opportunity to save due to shelter-at-home orders. They also entered a market going through some radical trends that are only now beginning to normalize.
Upside – Discounts On Downtown Condos
At the peak of the pandemic, the condo market in urban centers across North America suddenly became a buyer’s market. The condo market is known for smaller square footage and tighter living spaces. In many ways, the condo lifestyle depends on proximity to both work and amenities like restaurants, parks, nightlife, etc. With many people no longer going into the office and much of the hospitality sector closed, downtown condos were suddenly within reach for many first-time buyers.
Downside – Skyrocketing Prices In The Suburbs
On the other hand, the shift to work-from-home and the sudden freedom from the commute many got to enjoy meant skyrocketing prices for detached and semi-detached homes that offered more space and private backyards.
Homebuyers ready to find somewhere more spacious where they could settle down entered a housing landscape that had already seen prices double in some cities over the last decade and that was about to see even faster gains.
Many Millennials encountered a frustrating process as they dealt with blind bidding and unpredictable housing prices. It left many with the conviction that real estate needs to be done differently.
Streamlining The Real Estate Process
Real estate prices were not the only story to emerge during the pandemic. As the pandemic spurred many Millennials into action on the homebuying front, many new buyers also started looking for new ways to approach the real estate process.
The acceleration of a new generation of homebuyers spurred the growth of Nobul, a one-of-a-kind Toronto-based startup and digital marketplace connecting homebuyers and sellers with real estate agents.
Founded by industry innovator Regan McGee, Nobul brings transparency to the real estate process and empowers homebuyers. The platform changes the dynamic, as agents send buyers and sellers proposals with information about their fees and services, while consumers can also look into their past transactions and read verified reviews.
As McGee said in an interview last year, “Nobul brings choice, accountability, and transparency to an industry that has – for decades – been widely regarded by homebuyers as opaque and challenging. Anytime you bring innovative technology to the table that can make the process easier, it will be viewed as disruptive. Incidentally, technological advancements are beginning to gain real traction in a stalwart industry that was initially skeptical.”
As Millennials continue to dominate real estate during their prime earning years, tech-enabled platforms that simplify real estate are only going to grow. Millennials want more information and the ability to compare their options online before making a decision. Expect to see more agents and brokerages shift to Nobul as a new generation of homebuyers come to the table wanting more control over their choice of agent.
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