ROCKVILLE, Md. and KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., Feb. 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bright MLS, the leading multiple listing service (MLS) in the Mid-Atlantic representing 95,000 real estate professionals in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia, today released the results of its 2020 Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Outlook Survey, forecasting the trends and developments expected to impact this upcoming year. The survey drew results from approximately one thousand participating real estate professionals currently practicing inside the Mid-Atlantic region.

“The Mid-Atlantic U.S. is home to one of the most dynamic and high-profile housing markets in America today, and developments in our area often serve as bellwethers for nationwide trends,” said Brian Donnellan, President and CEO of Bright MLS.  “2019 was a tremendous year for the housing market in the Mid-Atlantic, and our survey shows that local real estate professionals are optimistic about the region experiencing another banner year in 2020.”

Below are some highlights of the results of the 2020 Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Outlook Survey:

The Economy in an Election Year

Approximately 44 percent see the improved job market as one of the most positive factors in the housing market going into 2020.

However, the survey saw results indicating concern over the upcoming election year, with 45 percent of real estate professionals suggesting that homeowners may stay put during the election year.

Buying Factors and Home Prices

Approximately 71% said buyers want suburban single-family homes.

This only represent about half of all units that come up for sale, indicating a shortage of inventory. Key factors considered when choosing where to buy include school ratings, neighborhood safety ratings, proximity to mass transit, walkability and proximity to parks.

Low Down Payment and Mortgage Options

More than 60 percent believe that home prices will continue to increase in 2020.

As a result, three out of four real estate professionals expect buyers will need an FHA or other low-down payment mortgage products.

Housing Market Inventory Levels

Biggest negative factor will be low inventory

41 percent say that low inventory will be the biggest negative factor in the 2020 estate market.

While nearly half of real estate professionals surveyed expressed optimism in inventory levels,

  • 80 percent stated that builders are not constructing enough affordable homes in the areas they serve. 
  • Over two-thirds say that downsizing may be a key reason we see new homes come onto the market.

First-Time Home Buyers and Millennials in the Marketplace

Nine out of ten real estate professionals say looming student loan debts may impact millennials ability to buy.

The majority of first-time home buyers entering the market are millennials.

Over two-thirds predicted that rising rent costs is the top factor pushing millennials into the marketplace. Real estate professionals identified the top challenges for first-time homebuyers are facing as:

  • The cost of the down payment (29 percent)
  • Lack of inventory (29 percent)
  • Affordability (22 percent)
  • Qualifying for a mortgage (17 percent)

73 percent of real estate professionals also said that student loan debt is a barrier for first-time homebuyers, while 44% say it also impacts an existing owner’s ability to purchase a new home. As a result of these debts, real estate professionals say buyers are:

  • Waiting longer to buy a home (48 percent)
  • Having more trouble qualifying for a mortgage (34 percent)
  • Buying less expensive homes (14 percent)

Most important home features

Eight out of 10 real estate professionals say that kitchen renovations add the most value to a home.

As in years past, updated kitchens and baths win the title of the number one most important feature to homebuyers. Other features included: move-in ready status, affordability, open floor plan, walkable communities and public transportation, and low-maintenance features.

As we look to 2020, real estate professionals say they expect the most important features to consumers will include:

  • An open concept (68 percent)
  • High-end kitchen (63 percent)
  • High-end bath (40 percent)
  • Outdoor dining/entertaining (39 percent)
  • Parking (36 percent)
  • Smart home technology (19 percent)  
  • Fireplace(s) (12 percent)

Real estate professionals provide valuable insights on the local real estate market as well as features and renovations that add the most value to a home. Consult with a local expert to help you navigate the buying or selling process.

For additional information on the Bright MLS 2020 Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Outlook survey or to request an interview with a Bright MLS spokesperson, and a real estate professional in your area who can speak to the hyperlocal market, please contact Hanly Heubeck at or by phone at (410) 367-2700 x 116.

Survey Methods Statement:
The survey, conducted online by Bright MLS between December 19, 2019 and January 2, 2020, polled Mid-Atlantic real estate professionals within the Bright geographic footprint, including Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, about their outlook for the 2020 real estate market. Subscribers were notified of the opportunity to participate in the survey via Bright MLS websites and email communications. Almost 1,000 Bright MLS subscribers participated in the survey.

About Bright MLS

The Bright MLS real estate service area spans 40,000 square miles throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. As a leading Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Bright serves approximately 95,000 real estate professionals who in turn serve over 20 million consumers. For more information, please visit

Hanly Heubeck
410.367.2700 x116 (O) / 443.570.2983 (C)