Nearly Half of REALTORS® Say Buyers Are Retreating

Fewer home buyers are venturing out amid concerns of the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly half of REALTORS®—or 48%—surveyed said that home buyer interest has decreased due to COVID-19, according to a new survey released Thursday by the National Association of REALTORS®. However, sellers are mostly keeping their homes listed on the market. About seven in 10 REALTORS® report there’s been no change in the number of homes on the market since the outbreak, although that has slipped from 87% a week ago.

NAR conducted its latest survey March 16–17.

“The decline in confidence related to the direction of the economy, coupled with the unprecedented measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19, including major social distancing efforts nationwide, are naturally bringing an abundance of caution among buyers and sellers,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “With fewer listings in what’s already a housing shortage environment, home prices are likely to hold steady. The temporary softening of the real estate market will likely be followed by a strong rebound once the economic ‘quarantine’ is lifted, and it’s critical that supply is sufficient to meet pent-up demand.”

Forty percent of REALTORS® surveyed say they have not changed how their listings are viewed while it remains on the market. That percentage is dropping as real estate pros and homeowners adapt. A week ago, 77% of real estate pros had said they had not changed how their listings were being viewed. (Read: Use of Virtual Home Tours Spreads as Coronavirus Cases Spike)

  • Additional findings from the survey:
  • 45% of REALTORS® said that the stock market correction and lower mortgage rates were not making any significant change in buyer behavior.
  • 54% of commercial members report a decline in leasing clients, up from 18% last week.
  • 83% of commercial buildings have changed practices, with the most common changes being offering more hand sanitizer, more frequent building cleanings, increasing numbers of tenants working remotely, and suspending travel.

The results of the NAR survey echoed findings from a weekly ShowingTime report, which reflects seven days of data through March 17 on home showings in 100 of the largest markets. Showings have drastically dipped over the last few days as more cities put restrictions in place to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

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