In the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 shutdown, the housing market saw an uptick in homebuyers. In fact, many communities were facing bidding wars, as buyers were ready to take the leap and find a new home, even though there were few listings on the market. However, as the normalcy of COVID-19—along with the reality of economic turmoil—has begun to set in, consumers’ confidence in the housing market has shifted.
Currently, the market isn’t at a standstill, but the number of interested buyers isn’t what it was previously. According to Fannie Mae’s monthly Home Purchase Sentiment Index, the percentage of respondents who think it’s a good time to buy a home has decreased. In May, that percentage was 61 percent; now, it’s at 53 percent. In addition to this, the number of respondents who stated it was a bad time to purchase a home rose from 27 percent to 38 percent. While this may slow the market down for a short time, there are other factors that predict an influx of buyers. Here are three trends to follow and what you can do to connect with consumers during this time.
1. Search Habits of First-Time Buyers
Even though home-buying has slowed for the moment, home searches have not. Google searches for “process of buying a home” have increased by 950 percent, which suggests that first-time buyers are making their way to the market. Another popular search, which shows that buyers are concerned about their economic preparedness, is “minimum credit score to buy a house.”
What this means for real estate agents is that their online presence needs to be top notch in order to scoop up these buyers who are looking for information. There are a number of ways to make your website and your brand more visible to these consumers who are searching for their first home. One way to do this is by sharing helpful information that makes you stand out as an expert. Focus on first-time buyers by publishing blog posts on topics like “How to Purchase Your First Home” or “Programs to Help First-Time Buyers.” Since many potential buyers are concerned about the financial undertaking, it could also be beneficial to create content about financial preparedness.
2. Tenants Moving Out of The Big City
With COVID-19 cases continuing to fluctuate around the country, many employers have made remote work standard. Because of this, many people are leaving the expensive big cities to move to smaller towns or suburbs. In July, the search term “suburbs” was at an all-time high, especially in places like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Houston.
Agents who are in these suburban areas can prepare for these types of homebuyers by creating a guide of their smaller towns. While these buyers may be hoping to escape their expenses, they may still be looking for culture and nightlife. Because you know the area best, show off what makes your town special. You may not have Navy Pier or Times Square, but there is plenty of activity in your town.
3. Shifting Property Interests
Search results show that buyers are looking for a different type of property. “How to buy a foreclosure” and “buy a fixer-upper or move-in ready” are two other popular terms. This could be for a couple of different reasons. One is that buyers are looking for a way to save money by purchasing a property that needs renovations. Another option is investors could be looking for an opportunity to flip the property. In either situation, if you’re looking to work with these types of buyers, it’s important to stand out.
If you have any connections with contractors, this could be a good time to reach out to them. Form a partnership with those in your area founded on mutual recommendation. You could recommend them to buyers who need work done on their new home, and they could connect you with investors that they’ve worked with who are looking to sell their acquired property.
As you navigate through bidding wars and seek out ways to attract more clients and win more listings in today’s hot markets, look for solutions that will help you stand out in your area. Now is the time to show sellers how you will market their listing with Homes.com’s City Sponsor program. Appearing on top search results in local markets and reaching serious buyers who are looking to take advantage of today’s low interest rates, Homes.com City Sponsor can help you win more listings in today’s hot market. Learn how and check to see if your area is still available.
Mark Mathis is vice president of Sales for Homes.com. For more information, please visit marketing.homes.com.