House-hunters are back in the hunting game.
And upstate New York is the second most popular region in a new survey of internet searches produced by LendingTree.
LendingTree analyzed Google search data to see how popular the search term “homes for sale” is in 50 of the nation’s largest metros. Google defines search popularity using what LendingTree calls “search-interest values.” These values exist on a scale of 0 to 100; 100 means the search term is at peak popularity.
LendingTree found that searches for the term “homes for sale” have increased from their 2020 lows in each metro featured in the study. Interest in general also rose from March to April in all but one metro.
Rochester, NY, saw the second largest increase in search interest since the coronavirus pandemic brought the housing market to its knees in March.
From a low of 37 in March, Rochester’s interest value rocketed to 81 by the end of April, according to survey calculations. The most popular search was Tucson, Ariz., with Jacksonville, Fla. Coming in third.
The survey comes as the National Association of Realtors hailed a new mortgage and housing assistance website to help home-owners and renters find information about assistance available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.
During the 2020 REALTORS Virtual Legislative Meetings, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger unveiled cfpb.gov/housing, hailing it as a “one-stop shop” for consumers during the pandemic.
Kraninger said, “The need is greatest for those who have experienced job loss or loss of income due to the pandemic. Struggling borrowers can request up to 180-days forbearance and if they still need assistance, they may request another 180 days.
“Additionally, if consumers do not have a federally-backed mortgage, many loan servicers have forbearance or deferment options for non-government backed or private loans.”
Kraninger added, “We are monitoring the increases in the number of homeowners who need forbearance and the dips in the new mortgage inquiry numbers. This is of concern to many and I know we will all come together to weather this storm. After all, we have a common goal: mortgage transactions that turn out successfully for borrowers.”
Also during the virtual meeting, U.S. Labor Department Secretary Eugene Scalia said her department continue to press for the reintroduction of the Association Health Plan rule, which is designed to make it easier for Realtors, among others, to get affordable health insurance.
His department has appealed a court ruling against the program, but he said, “We appealed that, argued it last fall and are awaiting the court’s decision…we certainly want to do all we can to get that program back up and running.”
Meanwhile, a survey from Clever Real Estate has found that prospective buyers are five times more likely to put a hold on their home buying plans for “the foreseeable future” than those surveyed last month.
Home buyers are struggling to afford their down payment, and renters, on average, are in a worse financial situation than homeowners.