Number of the Day Shows Virtual Home Tours Do the Trick

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63% - That’s how many homebuyers made an offer on a house last year without visiting it in person, according to real estate brokerage Redfin.

The Balance

Corrects timeframe in first and second paragraph and fixes reference to 32%, which is the share of homebuyers who reported sight-unseen offers in November 2019. Story was originally published Jan. 14.

That’s how many homebuyers made an offer on a property late last year without visiting it in person—the biggest share on record, according to real estate brokerage Redfin.

In the five years since Redfin has been collecting data, sight-unseen offers have never been as popular, Redfin said Thursday, citing a survey of more than 1,900 homebuyers in 32 major markets commissioned in November and December. In November 2019, just 32% of homebuyers reported such offers.

The increase is due to the rise in virtual home tours as the pandemic has fueled remote work, allowing people to more easily move to new areas, Redfin said. Requests to Redfin agents for virtual home tours rose from less than 1% at the beginning of 2020 to about 10% today, according to the report.

"The virtual home tour is here to stay," Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather said in a statement. "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."

Mortgage rates have reached historic lows several times throughout the pandemic, driving homebuyers to act fast on the limited supply of homes for sale, and experts don’t see them slowing down just yet.