Are the markets about to heat up? According to a new report from realtor.comÂ®, buyers are preparing to get back out there. Since March 16, when the first shelter-in place orders were implemented, data shows listings views, saves and shares have increased significantly, by 30 percent, 76 percent and 95 percent, respectively. Realtor.comÂ® reports that time spent per unique user is also up, by 14 percent.
“Data suggests that home shoppers who had paused their search are now picking it back up, and the spring homebuying season won’t be lost, but merely pushed into the summer months,” said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist,Â realtor.comÂ®. “Tools such as virtual tours andÂ Livestream Open HousesÂ are enabling consumers to safely continue their home search while maintaining social distancing guidelines and have proven to be very popular with consumers.”
In addition, it seems that virtual shopping is here to stay. Interest in listings with virtual tours has doubled, with user visits for these listings up 29 percent. Of surveyed individuals, 64 percent said they had taken a virtual tour and 45 percent said they prefer listings with virtual tours. In addition, 65 percent of homebuyers believe that virtual tours will be a continued resource in the homebuying process even after the crisis has ended, and 8 percent believe they will largely replace in-person tours.
What are the benefits of virtual tours? According to 52 percent of respondents, they help eliminate homes that don’t fit their needs, while for 43 percent and 38 percent, respectively, they allow buyers to see a home’s details without stepping inside as well as create a shortlist of properties to see in person. Thirty percent of respondents said virtual tours allow them to see more homes quickly without having to drive around to open houses.
“While many consumers don’t see virtual tours as a replacement for in-person viewings, they have emerged as a valuable tool to learn more about a home, see details up close and help narrow down the search. We believe virtual tours will remain an integral part of the home search, even when shoppers feel more comfortable visiting homes in-person again,” said Hale.
According to realtor.comÂ®’s most recent weekly housing trends report, sellers are also making their way back onto the market. For the week ending May 9, new listings jumped toward positive territory with a -29 percent decline YoY, a marked improvement over the near 40 percent declines these past several weeks.
Total inventory is down 19 percent YoY, with days on market 13 days slower than last year’s averageâ€”the biggest increase in time since 2013.
“While new listings are still declining on a yearly basis, last week’s jump shows some sellers are ready for a summer home saleâ€”a positive sign for the market,” said Hale. “But despite this uptick, time on market continues to increase and there’s a long road ahead to getting back to last year’s pace of new sellers.”