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NAR Flash Survey: Business as Usual, With a Twist
By Liz Dominguez
The coronavirus continues to be a source of concern across the world; however, the silver lining is becoming more apparent. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) latest Economic Pulse Flash Survey, while the spread of COVID-19 is still impacting the markets, sellers remain calm and hopeful.

Nearly three in four REALTORS® are working with sellers right now, and of those, 74 percent said their clients have not reduced listing prices in order to attract buyers.

And it's not just sellers who are proceeding as normal. Twenty-seven percent of surveyed REALTORS® have been able to complete nearly all transaction processes while practicing social distancing. For future clients, the most used tech tools are social media (61 percent), live videos (34 percent), messaging apps (38 percent) and e-signature programs (33 percent). There is a significant group, however, 40 percent, who say some aspects of the transaction still require person-to-person interactions; though masks and gloves are being used to lessen the risk of spreading the virus.

In the rental segment? Sixty-one percent of landlords and 37 percent of property managers report no issues in collecting rents. For those who are experiencing delays, 24 percent of landlords and 47 percent of property managers have been flexible under the circumstances. A very small portion of leases are being terminated—by 4 percent of landlords and 6 percent of property managers.

On the flip side, there has been a decrease in buyer interest, cited by 87 percent of members. Forty percent said the interest has declined by more than 50 percent. But this is most likely temporary—44 percent said buyers are delaying the process for just a couple of months. And while current sellers are not changing their listing prices, 55 percent of members said their seller clients are also postponing their real estate needs for a couple of months.

"Consumers are mostly abiding by stay-in-shelter directives, and it appears the current decline in buyer and seller activity is only temporary, with a majority ready to hit the market in a couple of months," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "The housing market faced an inventory shortage before the pandemic. Given that there are even fewer new listings during the pandemic, home sellers are taking a calm approach and appear unwilling to lower prices to attract buyers during the temporary disruptions to the economy."

The biggest change to the entire selling process? No more open houses, which 71 percent of surveyed members reported. Next, 63 percent said buyers are simply taking precautions when entering a home by using hand sanitizer, washing their hands, using gloves, using shoe covers or wearing masks.

Of those surveyed, 77 percent are working in a local market with presumed or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia's senior editor.


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