The real estate industry has undergone a, “tremendous transition,” Coldwell Banker CEO Ryan Gorman said, on CNBC last week. However, Gorman doesn’t believe the COVID-19 pandemic will permanently lead to homebuyers buying homes entirely virtually in the future.
Gorman said the company’s agent have been leveraging consumer tools, as well as proprietary tools developed by Coldwell Banker or its parent company Realogy, to bring both listings and neighborhoods to life for clients. And it’s not just young, tech-savvy homebuyers.
“It’s not just millennials who are open to this,” Gorman said. “60 to 70 percent of all the buyers we’re talking to are looking at areas, properties and even potentially making offers on properties having only seen them virtual right now, which I think speaks a lot to the pent up demand.”
“I don’t think the long term trend will be to only look virtually at a property to make an offer, but I do think people are valuing their time and safety, trying to use some of those virtual tools to take a look at a property, weed out some and make an offer,” Gorman added.
Gorman also touched on a few changing trends Coldwell Banker is seeing in consumer searches. The number one thing is the need for office space, as more and more companies signal a future of increased remote working possibilities.
“That’s always been a lighter demand and now we’re seeing it rise to the number one, most requested item as we all figure out how to work from home,” Gorman said. “I’m currently in my middle school son’s bedroom at the moment so I think a home office might work out for folks.”
Gorman said Coldwell Banker is also seeing an increased desire for private outdoor space and more people looking to buy in rural areas.
Gorman’s appearance came hours after the National Association of Realtors’ released its April existing-home sales report, which a massive drop in sales and inventory in the month of April. Data from Coldwell Banker — like similar reports from Redfin and Compass — show that things bottomed out in April.
“When I look at the data, the highest correlation I see between activities in the housing market and more general activity, it really has to do more with the state orders,” Gorman said. “As the states locked down to keep us all safe, what we saw was listings not able to come onto the market because, for instance, we had trouble getting photographers into homes and we saw buyer demand really bottled up.”
“Now as we see counties, cities and states lifting some of those orders, we’re seeing listings come on to the market much more quickly, trying to catch up to that 20 percent deficit, as well as buyers getting into properties as quickly as they can.”