A survey released Thursday by NAR indicates sellers are cancelling open houses and requiring interested buyers to wash their hands and remove shoes.

Almost one out of four home sellers in the U.S. have changed how their home is viewed in some capacity in order to account for the spread of coronavirus, according to a new survey released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The “NAR Flash Survey: Economic Pulse” was conducted March 9-10, 2020 and asked 70,036 residential NAR members questions about how the coronavirus outbreak, as well as the recent sharp drops in the stock market and mortgage interest rates, have affected homebuyer and seller interest and behavior. NAR received 2,518 useable responses, including 308 from Washington and 313 from California.

“The majority of sellers have decided not to make a change in their home listing,” NAR’s survey states. “However, in California 12 percent of members cited the number of sellers has increased because they can take advantage of lower interest rates upon moving. This is true for nine percent of sellers nationwide.”

The survey results also reported that sellers are taking measures including cancelling open houses, requiring interested buyers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer and asking potential buyers to remove shoes or wear footies into houses. While nationally, one in four sellers adopted such measures, in Washington 44 percent of sellers adopted similar precautionary measures and in California, 34 percent of sellers adopted similar measures.

National Association of Realtors

Although sellers have made noticeable changes to their home showings, 78 percent of survey respondents said that there has been no change in buyer interest in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Contrastingly, 16 percent of respondents said that buyer interest has decreased because of coronavirus. However, on the state level, Washington and California again reported a greater decrease in buyer interest: 19 percent of Washington respondents saw a decrease in buyer interest and 21 percent of California respondents saw a decrease in buyer interest.

In regards to stock market fluctuations, 37 percent of respondents said lower mortgage rates excited homebuyers more than the stock market correction.

In general, few respondents reported homes being removed from the market as a result of coronavirus or stock market changes, with 87 percent saying coronavirus has not affected the number of homes on the market. Nationwide, only 3 percent of respondents reported that homes have been removed from the market.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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