Online Home Shopping Activity Signals Buyers Are Returning - WIRE.RealEstate

Online Home Shopping Activity Signals Buyers Are Returning

Apr 25, 2020 11:05 PM ET


After a mid-March dip around the time the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, a new Zillow® analysis shows renewed interest in the housing market as Americans adapt to this temporary normal, including in some U.S. markets that were most affected in the early days of the outbreak. 

Page views on for-sale listings on Zillowi and requests to be connected to a Zillow Premier Agent have ticked up in April, and both are higher than they were a year ago. Purchase mortgage applications, while still down 35% from a year earlier, are stabilizingii. Taken together, this suggests more buyers are considering a home purchase and agents, sellers and buyers are becoming more comfortable using virtual technology during the process while practicing social distancing. 

In early March, daily web traffic on Zillow — measured for this analysis by page views on for-sale listings using a seven-day trailing average — was trending somewhat higher than on corresponding days a year earlier. The trendline took a turn after March 11, dropping to as much as 19% below 2019 levels for the seven days ending March 22. But traffic has since picked up, outpacing or remaining just a few percentage points behind 2019 levels through early April. 

An additional signal in home shopping behavior is the rate at which Zillow visitors submit online requests to connect with a real estate agent.  While online requests to connect with a Zillow Premier Agent dropped steeply in mid-March, they have since bounced back. As of April 15, online Premier Agent connection requests were higher than they were a year ago, due in part to increased video tour connections offered.

“The uptick in people browsing for-sale listings combined with high-intent requests to be connected with an agent reveals the resilience of Americans’ interest in shopping for homes on Zillow,” said Zillow Economist Jeff Tucker. “These are encouraging signals and time will tell if this interest will turn into more offers to buy and transactions.  The coronavirus pandemic has already cost an unprecedented number of people their jobs, which will force many to put plans for a home purchase on hold. Time will tell whether areas of the country with sharper increases in homebuyer interest see quicker economic recoveries, if consumers are feeling confident enough to consider a big purchase like a new home.”

On a local level, the bounceback in page views has come more quickly in some metros, including a few with high numbers of COVID-19 cases. Traffic on for-sale homes in Los Angeles has been higher than a year ago every day since the week ending March 31, including a 32% year-over-year increase for the seven-day period ending April 15. For-sale traffic has trended similarly in metros such as HoustonDallasAtlantaPhoenixDenver and Las Vegas.

The recovery took longer in several metros, only surpassing 2019 levels in the past week, including in ChicagoSeattleSan Francisco and San Jose. And traffic on for-sale listings remains down year-over-year in a few others, including New YorkPhiladelphiaBostonDetroit and Pittsburgh. 

The number of homes for sale grew 2.5% between March 1 and April 5, but inventory was still relatively low because the market was tight before the pandemic took hold. New listings, which typically garner the most attention, were down 27.1% year-over-year as of April 5.   

Metropolitan Area

Date of Lowpoint in
YOY Page Views*

YOY Change in Page
Views – Low Point

YOY Change in Page
Views – April 15**

National

March 22

-19%

18%

New York, NY

March 24

-32%

-2%

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

March 22

-20%

32%

Chicago, IL

March 22

-23%

12%

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

March 24

-15%

39%

Philadelphia, PA

March 25

-30%

-9%

Houston, TX

March 24

-9%

56%

Washington, DC

March 22

-14%

21%

Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL

March 20

-19%

35%

Atlanta, GA

March 18

-10%

31%

Boston, MA

March 27

-26%

-4%

San Francisco, CA

March 25

-29%

6%

Detroit, MI

April 3

-30%

-15%

Riverside, CA

March 22

-19%

30%

Phoenix, AZ

March 22

-21%

30%

Seattle, WA

March 22

-18%

17%

Minneapolis-St Paul, MN

March 22

-9%

17%

San Diego, CA

March 22

-25%

27%

St. Louis, MO

March 26

-19%

10%

Tampa, FL

March 22

-25%

21%

Baltimore, MD

March 25

-20%

8%

Denver, CO

March 22

-8%

22%

Pittsburgh, PA

April 4

-33%

-15%

Portland, OR

March 22

-14%

18%

Charlotte, NC

March 22

-20%

24%

Sacramento, CA

March 22

-20%

24%

San Antonio, TX

March 24

-21%

40%

Orlando, FL

March 18

-22%

27%

Cincinnati, OH

March 22

-21%

18%

Cleveland, OH

March 22

-25%

10%

Kansas City, MO

March 23

-17%

15%

Las Vegas, NV

March 21

-15%

45%

Columbus, OH

March 22

-25%

17%

Indianapolis, IN

March 22

-18%

13%

San Jose, CA

March 22

-26%

13%

Austin, TX

March 22

-18%

35%

 

* Since March 11, 2020, using a seven-day trailing average

** Using a seven-day trailing average

About Zillow
Zillow, the top real estate website in the U.S., is building an on-demand real estate experience. Whether selling, buying, renting or financing, customers can turn to Zillow’s businesses to find and get into their next home with speed, certainty and ease.

In addition to for-sale and rental listings, Zillow Offers buys and sells homes directly in dozens of markets across the country, allowing sellers control over their timeline. Zillow Home Loans, our affiliate lender, provides our customers with an easy option to get pre-approved and secure financing for their next home purchase.

Millions of people visit Zillow Group sites every month to start their home search, and now they can rely on Zillow to help them finish it — with the same confidence, ease and empowerment they’ve come to expect from real estate’s most trusted brand.

Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z and ZG) and headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow and Zillow Offers are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

i Including all page views of for-sale homes on Zillow.com and the Zillow app, excluding those from real estate agents and other professional users. Daily figures were calculated using a seven-day trailing average. Year-over-year comparisons were made after offsetting 2019 data by two days in order to compare consistent days of the week. 

See Campaign: https://www.zillow.com
Contact Information:
https://www.zillow.com

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