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Sellers holding buyers back as the country slowly reopens

By Mike Wheatley | May 14, 2020

Home buyers are still as enthusiastic as ever, rushing to view homes when and where they can despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But cautious home sellers appear to be holding them back, CNBC reported this week.

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“We’ve had buyers ready, willing, and able, and the sellers have been the ones who have pulled their homes, changed their minds,” Ben Hirsh, a real estate professional in Atlanta, told CNBC.

That much is evident from realtor.com’s latest data, which shows that new listings for the week ending May 2 fell by almost 40% compared to the same period last year.

But for those homes that are listed, there is lots of demand, real estate pros say. For example, a two-hour open house in Atlanta last weekend that was listed at $3 million pulled in about a dozen families, most of who were wearing masks for the occasion.

“It seems like the number of houses on the market had kind of paused,” one masked home buyer who attended the open house told CNBC.

Buyers have increasingly taking advantage of online services such as virtual home viewings since stay-at-home orders were initiated in March. Real estate agents have stepped up offerings of 3D and virtual tours online as well as video walkthroughs in real time to interested buyers. The agents visit the homes alone and walk around while conducting a live video chat with an interested buyer.

But as states start to reopen, homebuyers increasingly want to see the properties in-person.

Mike and Anna Elmers toured a home recently in Atlanta and told CNBC that after looking online at properties, they still wanted to get out in the field and see the homes for their own eyes. “We’re taking proper steps to wear masks and definitely social distance,” Anna Elmers says.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected]
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