The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently published a report in which the association surveyed more than 86,000 of its members. According to the survey’s results, many are still closing sales while remaining compliant with state and local ramifications centered on COVID-19 by using virtual walk-throughs and digital contracts.

“Twenty-five percent of members cited being able to complete nearly all aspects of transactions while respecting social distance,” a portion of the survey reads. “With minor modifications such as using masks and gloves, 35% cited felt person-to-person interactions were still required, meanwhile 13% postponed home searching and 20% stated that the mandate of stay-at-home prevents them from completing transactions.”

The report notes that nearly all aspects of home buying transactions can be done while still respecting social distancing. Technology tools, according to the association, are a beneficial way to communicate with current or potential clients. The most common tech tools used are e-signatures, social media, messaging apps and virtual tours. But although technology can assist relators and homebuyers during COVID-19, the virus has impacted certain home buying behaviors.

The survey highlighted 60% of its members who reported buyers are delaying their home purchase for a couple of months. This includes 12% who reported members are continuing the process, but only relying on virtual communication. While an additional 12% reported clients are deciding not to buy or sell indefinitely.
When it comes to overall buyer interest, it’s unanimous and declining, as 90% of members cited a decline in buyer interest. Of this share, 44% reported a decline by more than 50%, according to the survey’s results, and 8% of members cited no change in activity.

“Purchasing activity fell about 85% over 4 weeks, and has probably doubled since then, so it is down about 65%,” said John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Company. “We are seeing pent-up demand from people who have not been impacted financially and who can’t wait to live somewhere else.”

“I am expecting demand to pick up quite nicely over the next few weeks and maybe even months, but then to flatten and probably fall once this pent-up demand is satisfied,” added Burns. “The home builders are taking market share because there are homes are empty and clean, and they are advertising online and even paying additional resale agent commissions in some cases.”

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