In May, we reported that consumer home-buying actions—which we defined as properties viewed, shared, and favorited—were on the rise, indicating that buyers were reentering the market following a COVID-19-induced lull in real estate activity in the early spring.
What we didn’t know at the time, though, is whether the data pointed to a delayed busy season—in which home-buying actions would be more spread out, extending into the latter half of the (usually slower) fall—or a condensed one, where a greater number of actions would take place during the typical summer busy period.
Well, now, it seems we have our answer.
Busy season is now busier than ever
According to our data scientists, all our key home-buyer metrics saw significantly higher volumes when compared to the same time last year.
Here’s properties viewed. From mid-May through June, volumes ranged from 16.89% to 74.44% higher than 2019.
Here’s properties shared. Again, it’s the same story: Volumes ranged from 28.34% to 316.86% higher than in 2019.
And, finally, here’s properties favorited. This time, volumes ranged from 26. 65% to 116.68% higher than 2019.
The data leaves little doubt we’re experiencing one of the busiest busy seasons in some time, as prospective homebuyers, after delaying their home search efforts in the early spring, have returned to the market in force.
Busy season most likely won’t be extended
Interestingly, despite significantly higher volumes, all three metrics followed the expected busy season framework. If you recall from our previous post, real estate buyer activity follows a predictable hill-shaped pattern. After a winter lull, home search actions ramp up in the early spring and maintain relative consistency throughout the summer before tapering off in the latter half of the fall.
It looks like this:
As you can see, in a typical year, busy season buyer activity usually peaks in the latter half of June, only to remain relatively static the following days and weeks as buyers leave the market upon closing on a property and new buyers enter. This year, the same scenario seems to be playing out; all three metrics hit their peaks during the week of June 22.
Why does this matter? Well, buyer activity is a strong predictor of home sales, so if the pattern continues to mirror previous years, we should see home sales increase in typical busy season fashion in the coming weeks and months.
So far, all indications point to that being the case. According to Homesnap internal data, home closings are still down about 8% year-over-year but have increased month to month, with June closings up 34% compared to May. Most experts in the industry, including us, expect home sales to surpass last year’s total in the coming months.
It’s our belief, then, we’re seeing a condensed busy season that will, from this point forward, play out like previous years—and will not extend to any significant degree into the fall and winter months. This is even more likely when you consider the uncertainty surrounding surging COVID-19 cases. It’s plausible many homebuyers and sellers withdraw from the market as we enter the fall in the same way they did in the early spring.
As a result, agents would be wise to ramp their marketing efforts over the next several weeks in order to capture a larger-than-ever amount of active prospective homebuyers on the market. Who knows when they’ll get the opportunity again.