The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced Wednesday that it’s upcoming November conference will be held virtually due to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus.

The 2020 Realtors Conference & Expo had been scheduled to begin Nov. 13 in New Orleans. Now, however, the event “will be transitioned to a fully virtual format in light of ongoing health and safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a statement from NAR.

NAR President Vince Malta said in the statement that the decision to move the event online was made “in order to prioritize the health and safety of our members, staff and sponsors.”

Vince Malta

“While positive indicators begin to show our economy is rebounding and treatment options for COVID-19 are proving more effective,” Malta also said, “so much remains unknown about this virus and the circumstances we will face as a nation come this fall.”

The early days of the pandemic saw numerous real estate events canceled or modified as isolation rules spread across the country. NAR itself, for example, canceled two March gatherings in California and decided to hold it’s Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo entirely online in May.

In his statement, Malta described the May event as a “success” that saw “record-breaking participation.”

Many other events, including Inman Connect, have also moved online thanks to the coronavirus. And while states are gradually easing their economic restrictions, recent spikes of cases in states such as Arizona and Florida suggest the outbreak is far from over.

To prepare for its November conference, NAR collected survey responses from more than 4,000 of its members. More than two thirds of the survey respondents ended up being “net detractors,” according to NAR’s statement, who “noted lingering safety concerns when traveling, their expectation to still be avoiding crowds in November and the unlikelihood of a vaccine being available by that time.”

NAR plans to announce additional details about the now-virtual conference in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, CEO Bob Goldberg said NAR’s investment in technology made the May event a success. He added that “we’re excited to build on that experience to provide an even more productive and engaging virtual Conference & Expo this November.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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