Surveys Reveal Broker and Consumer Views on the Future of the Market

REAL Trends analyzed several recent surveys to give you a pulse on the market during COVID-19 and to predict future trends.

How Do Brokers View the Future?

REAL Trends and Colmar Associates recently surveyed brokers to see how they see the future of real estate.

In April, REAL Trends and Colmar Associates surveyed 150 brokers (125 responded) to determine their future view, given the current state of the market. Here’s what they had to say:

  • 66% said they were going to use more of a combination of virtual meetings and company gatherings
  • 24.8% said that their experience with virtual meetings was excellent, and 51.2% said it was very good
  • 52.8% of the brokers surveyed said the decline in agent counts would be between 5% to 15% because of the economy’s change
  • 40.8% of brokers said they felt the recovery in housing sales would take hold between one to three months; 36.8% said it would be between three to six months, and 15.2% said it would take longer than six months
  • 61.6% said they would consolidate their office space
  • 20.0% said they felt business would be off 5% to 10% in 2020; 43.2% said they believed that business would be off 11% to 20% in 2020, and 16% said they would be off 21% to 30%;
  • 92% said that their business would survive this downturn, showing the determination of the brokerage firms. n

Consumer COVID-19 Harris Poll: It’s Time for a Proactive Approach From Brokers

With COVID-19 probably here in some form for the long term, this study shows how vital it is for brokers to go above and beyond with precautions.

The Harris Poll, one of the country’s most respected polling and research organizations, released the findings of a study done in early May. In it the poll found:

  • 80% of Americans are still concerned with the risk of being exposed when leaving home for errands and worry they will accidentally expose others.
  • Nearly 75% of Americans worry about future public activities, such as public transit, socializing or going to bars, restaurants, hairdressers, etc.
  • 66% of parents are concerned their kids will be exposed if sent back to school, causing many districts to cancel in-person classes for the rest of the school year.
  • Taking a flight is also a concern for 66% of Americans.

Given this, real estate professionals and brokerage firms will need to go beyond passive acceptance of government directives as to what needs to be done to show homes. 

It appears the Coronavirus is here to stay, much like influenza. Given the high levels of current fear about the virus, it seems apparent that agents and brokerage firms should take a proactive approach to assure buyers and sellers that they’ve done all they can to ensure their safety. This should be a priority.

No agents can promise that each home is 100% safe for sellers and buyers, but they can take every step possible to let both parties know the steps they’re taking to be as safe as possible. It should not be done with an attitude of “this is what they tell us we have to do,” but rather, “our agents and we pledge to take all the steps we can to assure a safe environment.” 

Harris Poll No. 2: Are Americans Reconsidering Where They Live?

Study shows that Americans are rethinking high-density city and urban homes and moving to less-crowded places.  

According to the results of a separate April 2020 Harris Poll, nearly 39% of urban dwellers said that COVID-19 had prompted them to consider moving to a less crowded place.

  • It seems that 18 to 24-year-olds who were surveyed were more likely than other age groups to say they’re considering a move.
  • Urban dwellers (43%) were more likely than suburban (26%) and rural (21%) residents to report having browsed real estate websites for homes or apartments to rent or buy.
What Does This Mean?

According to Harris and other sources, after a surge of people moving to urban cities—more than 1 million population during the early 2010s—major metro areas have seen growth slowdowns and even losses over the past four years according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Brookings Institution.

Remote work is being normalized and is likely to become a more permanent reality, allowing staff more flexibility to live further away from the company’s headquarters.

One other note was that people tend to stay put during the threat of a recession, so the current downturn could discourage people from picking up and moving.