Sellers Holding Eager Buyers Back as States Reopen

May 12, 2020

The pandemic doesn’t appear to be spooking some potential homebuyers away. Sporting masks and gloves, they’re rushing to preview homes in person, CNBC reports. But it’s home sellers who may be keeping them back.

“We’ve had buyers ready, willing, and able, and the sellers have been the ones who have pulled their homes, changed their minds,” Ben Hirsh, a real estate professional in Atlanta, told CNBC.

Indeed, new listings plunged nearly 40% annually during the week ending May 2, realtor.com®’s data shows.

For homes that are listed, buyers appear to be reemerging. A two-hour open house in Atlanta for a $3 million home this past weekend drew about a dozen families—mostly masked.

“It seems like the number of houses on the market had kind of paused,” one masked home buyer who attended the open house told CNBC.

Many buyers increased the online component of their home shopping using virtual tools when stay-at-home orders began in March. Real estate professionals stepped up offerings of 3D and virtual tours online as well as video walkthroughs in real time to interested buyers. Real estate professionals would visit the homes and walk around the house over a live video chat with an interested buyer.

But as states start to reopen, more homebuyers may be wanting to see those properties in-person.

Mike and Anna Elmers toured a home recently in Atlanta and told CNBC that after looking online at properties, they still wanted to get out in the field and see the homes for their own eyes. “We’re taking proper steps to wear masks and definitely social distance,” Anna Elmers says.