Virginia REALTORS® has conducted a weekly survey of members since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, asking members if and how the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted home buyer and seller interest and behavior. During the survey conducted May 15th and 16th, 2020 we asked REALTORS® to compare conditions in the housing market now to what they were seeing a month ago, in the early weeks of COVID-19. We also asked about delays in closings and requests from past clients about mortgage forbearance. We received responses from 1,000 Virginia REALTORS® across the Commonwealth.
Buyer Activity in the Market
More REALTORS® are seeing an uptick in buyer interest and activity in the market in mid-May.
- Nearly half (49%) of Virginia REALTORS® say that, compared to a month ago, buyer activity in their market has increased modestly or substantially.
- About a fifth of REALTORS® (19.2%) say that they were seeing somewhat less buyer activity and 17.4% say that they were seeing substantially less buyer activity compared to a month ago. About 14% of REALTORS® say there has been no change.
- Buyer interest and activity has improved more in Virginia than in many other places around the U.S. According to a May 10-11 survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®, only 13% of REALTORS® reported that there has been an increase in buyer activity compared to a month ago.
As buyers return to the market, REALTORS® are finding that closings are being delayed in some cases. However, the majority of REALTORS® in Virginia are not experiencing closing delays:
- More than half (57%) of Virginia REALTORS® report that they have not had any closing delays as a result of COVID-19. By contrast, only 33% of REALTORS® nationally are reporting no delays in residential closings.
- The most common reasons for delays included financing (21%), buyer no longer qualifying for the mortgage due to job loss (17%), and problems with appraisals (11%).
- Compared to other places around the country, Virginia REALTORS® report experiencing fewer delays associated with home inspections or final walkthroughs. Job loss also appears to be somewhat less of a challenge in Virginia compared to other places.
- About 20% of Virginia REALTORS® report that they have had a past client ask about mortgage forbearance, compared to 25% of REALTORS® nationally.
- Most Virginia REALTORS® who have been asked about mortgage forbearance know where to refer these clients. Less than 2 percent were not sure where to refer them.
A note about surveys: This is not a randomized sample survey of Virginia REALTORS® members. Larger sample sizes generally make it easier to make inferences about the population of Virginia REALTORS®, with a certain level of confidence. The statistics from this survey have a margin of error of +/- 3.0%.
Virginia REALTORS® will continue to monitor the economic and housing market impacts of COVID-19 in Virginia. Please check the COVID-19 page on the Virginia REALTORS® website for updates. In addition, each Thursday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. we will host a Facebook Live on the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the housing market. For more information, please contact Lisa Sturtevant (firstname.lastname@example.org).