In an effort to get a sense of how the coronavirus pandemic is effecting the real estate market, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been conducting a series of flash surveys aimed at gauging consumer behavior.
In just the time between the two initial surveys—the first of which was released on March 9 and the second which was released on March 19—there has been a significant shift in attitudes regarding the virus among both buyers and sellers.
Here’s what the surveys have had to say:
While the majority of sellers aren’t yet removing their homes from the market, they are changing their behavior around showings.
When the survey was first launched on March 9, 81% of the agents surveyed said their sellers had no interest in removing their homes from the market. By March 19, that number dropped to 61%, with 16% of sellers actually taking steps to stop marketing their homes.
While that majority of sellers still have their homes listed for sale, the agents reported that about 60% of home sellers nationwide have made changes to their behavior around showings, including canceling open houses and requiring buyers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
Meanwhile, there has been a marked decline in buyer interest, citing the stock market as a major influence.
On the buyer end of the spectrum, the agents reported a significant decline in buyer interest that occurred in the time between the two surveys. On March 9, only 16% of agents had noticed decreased interest among their buyers. By March 19, that number jumped to 48%.
Additionally, when asked for reasons behind that decline, the number of agents who pointed to the stock market correction doubled, going from 13% to 28% in the following ten days.
Though, notably, 50% of agents still note that they see no change in buyer behavior.
In the commercial real estate industry, the impact is being felt even more strongly.
For their part, agents who work with clients who are interested in buying commercial properties noticed an even bigger decline in buyer interest. At the time of the initial survey only 17% of agents felt that the virus had negatively impacted buyer attitudes. By the time the second survey was released, it was nearly half, at 46%.
Perhaps surprisingly, the market’s low interest rates are also doing little to help spur on commercial buyers. By the time of the second survey 65% of all agents felt that interest rates were doing little to pique their buyers’ interest levels, which was an increase from 58% from the initial survey.
However, unsurprisingly, 83% of commercial buildings have now adopted a change in practices due to coronavirus, up from 63% at the time of the initial survey. The biggest recorded changes are that 56% of the buildings surveyed have tenants who are working remotely, 39% are engaging in more frequent cleanings, and 37% are offering tenants more hand sanitizer.
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