The real estate market is bouncing back, following a rocky start to the second financial quarter, according to a new survey by HomeLight. The survey conducted biweekly polls with more than 2,000 agents to track changes in the market over the past few months. Early April was the period of peak impact on the market, with a steep decline in sales and most agents reporting slow business. Throughout May and June, this trend reversed so that in late June, 49% of agents reported that business was growing despite current circumstances.
As the market improved, by late June most agents reported a seller’s market with inventory at lower levels than the second quarter of 2019. Surprisingly, 59% of agents reported that the biggest challenge to the 2020 housing market would be lack of supply to meet demand, rather than coronavirus uncertainty. This may be due to the fact that home sellers are much more worried than buyers are about COVID-19-related issues, particularly with the risk of infection while showing their home. Twenty-nine percent of agents said that risk of infection was the biggest current concern for home sellers, while only 6% said it was the largest concern for home buyers. These fears are leading to fewer homes for sale and low inventory.
The survey also showed changing preferences of buyers as quarantine forces many to spend more time at home. Agents reported that features such as a designated home office, new kitchen appliances, and a private outdoor space have become some of the most important amenities for buyers. The virus has also spurred interest in more spacious suburban homes. Agents report that the need for more space and the desire to leave the city for the suburbs are two of the top factors motivating their clients’ decision to move. The survey shows that moving forward these preferences will motivate people to move and renovate as social distancing and working from home become permanent practices.