Almost two-thirds of homebuyers last year made an offer on a property they hadn’t seen in person, shattering the previous record, according to Redfin.
Sixty-three percent of Redfin survey respondents who bought a home last year did so, the highest share since Redfin began keeping track in 2015. The previous high point was 45%, recorded last July.
The new high water mark is up 32% from around the same time last year. The data supports Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather’s proclamation that “the virtual home tour is here to stay,” considering that more and more buyers are looking farther away from their current residences for new homes.
“Homebuyers who are searching for a home out of town and don’t have the time or ability to view the home in person will use virtual tours as their primary means of viewing a home,” Fairweather said in a post on Redfin’s blog predicting market trends for 2021. “The increased use of this technology, coupled with more people relocating, mean the sight-unseen trend will continue, and the majority of homebuyers will make offers sight unseen during their search for a home in 2021.”
Redfin noted that video tours skyrocketed in 2020 from less than 1% of tour requests at the beginning of the year to one in 10 in December. Monthly views of 3D walkthroughs on the online brokerage have ballooned by more than 560% since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“Live-video home tours have gone from futuristic fantasy to an everyday part of the homebuying process,” said Mary Ellen Wisneski, a Redfin agent based in Connecticut.