Vaccine Rollout May Encourage Millions to Move

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That’s how many more homes might be for sale once COVID-19 vaccinations become widespread, a new Zillow survey suggests.

In a January survey of more than 1,000 homeowners, Zillow, the online real-estate marketplace, found that 70% would be comfortable moving once vaccines against COVID-19 have been widely distributed, compared with 52% who are okay with moving under current public health conditions. 

Using Census Bureau data, that gap translates to a difference of more than 14 million homes, Zillow said Tuesday. The results are in line with Zillow's expectation that 25% more homes will sell in 2021 than in 2020, feeding a surge in demand triggered by the pandemic and ultra-low mortgage rates

"That injection of inventory could give buyers more options and breathing room in a competitive market,” Chris Glynn, principal economist at Zillow, said in a statement. “The vaccine, however, will also likely add to already-strong demand, given that most sellers will become buyers as they trade in for a home that better suits their new needs." 

For those that are already willing to sell, surging prices have been a big factor. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index rose 10.4% in 2020, the biggest annual gain since 2013, according to figures released Tuesday.