A pandemic may not be the way the housing industry thought it would enter a digital Renaissance, but necessity is the mother of invention. In just early March, Redfin debuted their virtual homebuying experience to combat the spread of the virus, and last week, the company saw a 494 percent increase in agent-led video home tours. Video tours soared from 0.2 percent of tour requests made to the current 18.9 percent. Once the world emerges on the other side of the worst of COVID-19, it’s hard to say what will happen next for the housing industry. But the CEO of Redfin says that either way, we won’t go back to the way we were before.
Redfin saw a 494% increase in requests for agent-led video home tours last week, following an 80% increase the prior week, as homebuyers began relying heavily on virtual viewings amid the coronavirus outbreak. As of yesterday, 18.9% of tour requests made on Redfin.com were video-chat tour requests, up from 0.2% at the beginning of March—a 94-fold increase.
Along with live video-chat tours, prospective buyers can see the inside of nearly any Redfin-listed home with three-dimensional scans, powered by Matterport. Views of these 3D walkthroughs—which have been available for Redfin-listed homes since 2014—are up 9% in March as compared to February. Redfin expects to host nearly half a million of these virtual open houses this month.
“The future of real estate has come earlier than any of us could have anticipated,” said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. “The way things are during the pandemic won’t last forever, but at the end of all this, things won’t go back to the way they were either. We hope we’re well prepared.”