SEATTLE – (Realty News Report) – Almost half of today’s homebuyers are making offers to buy houses they have never seen in person, according to a new report from the Redfin real estate firm.
“I predict that by the end of the 2020 homebuying season, the majority of homebuyers will have made a sight-unseen offer,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “The pandemic has changed the way many people view homes, and on top of that, the market is highly competitive. If you aren’t using this strategy, another buyer who is could beat you to the punch.”
Why? Redfin agents cite health concerns around the pandemic, accelerating migration trends, and competition fueled by a worsening housing shortage as reasons more buyers are bidding on homes before visiting them.
The supply of housing is tight. Some would-be sellers who have the option to delay a move, are electing to wait because of concerns about the coronavirus. Who wants to have strangers tour your home while the pandemic is raging?
The Houston Association of Realtors reports the inventory of single-family homes dipped to a 3.2-months supply in June, down from a 4.3-months supply a year earlier.
Houston recorded 9,328 single-family sales in June – the best month ever in the decades that HAR has been keeping records.
With mortgage rates at record lows around 3 percent, buyers are motivated. Low mortgage rates, tight inventory and strong demand create the conditions that make people want to make offers on houses they have not seen.
So they look at houses online.
Houston Realtors report traffic on their website is up 70 percent over last year.
Buying a home remotely has become easier as touring technology has improved. Views of virtual 3D walkthroughs on Redfin.com have surged 243% since late February.
Additionally, about a quarter of people who plan to buy a home in the next year are limiting the number of properties they’re touring in person due to the coronavirus, while 18% aren’t touring in person at all, according to Redfin.
The pandemic is also motivated Americans to relocate as employers implement flexible remote-work policies. A record 27% of house hunters looked to move to different metro area in the second quarter of 2020, up from 25 percent in the second quarter of 2019.
Aug. 3, 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020
File: Blind Bids File (2) Blind Bids – Homebuyers Making Offers on Houses Sight Unseen