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Pent-Up Demand for Homes Expected Following Pandemic

By: Kim Shindle on in  | 

Realtors® throughout the country are seeing many people taking their homes off the market and postponing the sale, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors®. Nearly six out of 10 members – 59% – said buyers are delaying home purchases for a couple of months, while a similar share of members – 57% – said sellers are delaying home sales for a couple of months. The majority of Realtors® believe buyers and sellers will return to the market as delayed transactions following the end of the health crisis.

“While members are reporting that some buyers are postponing their home purchase if they can, there are some buyers and sellers who need to sell or buy a home due to their individual circumstances like a divorce, a new job or a baby. They actually need to move right now,” said Dr. Jessica Lautz, vice president of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at the National Association of Realtors®.

NAR conducted its Economic Pulse Flash Survey April 5-6, 2020, asking members questions about how the coronavirus outbreak has impacted the residential and commercial real estate markets.

In states where real estate is allowed with restrictions, 93% of members report that they’ve made changes to the steps they take when showing a home.

“Many Realtors® reported if they’re allowed to show the home, they’re cleaning the property before clients arrive and after they’ve toured the house. However, many are embracing showing a home virtually,” Lautz said. “In states like Pennsylvania where there are more restrictions, that would mean having the sellers actually do the virtual tour.”

“Realtors® see this as a temporary stall and that buyers and sellers will come back to the market,” Lautz said. “We’ve seen a lot of people who have lost their jobs, but we expect a quick recovery. The demand for haircuts, childcare and restaurants will resume, as will people’s demand for purchasing a home.”

Lautz said NAR has surveyed Realtors® who also own residential rental properties. “Our members are working with tenants who can’t pay their rents and then working with their own mortgage companies or looking at federal programs available to them,” she said.

Fifty-six percent of members said they’ve had no issue with rents; 27% reported being able to accommodate tenants who cannot pay, while 14% said it would be financially difficult to allow a delay in payments.” The recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act includes provisions on eviction prevention and small business loans and grants that are critical to keeping the rental market steady.

“Coming out of this, I believe we’re going to see a lot of pent-up demand. People will have spent a lot of time in their homes, thinking ‘how can I remodel?’ or ‘I really need to move to find another home that works better for my family’,” Lautz said.

Buyers Still Motivated, Despite Pandemic Challenges

“Home is more important than ever before, and ownership has become a key priority for many, particularly those who have never bought a home before,” said D. Steve Boland, president of retail at Bank of America. “Owning a home has historically helped families create a legacy and enabled them to build long-term wealth.”

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