Real Estate

One In Three Recent Homebuyers Made an Offer Sight-Unseen, Up from Nearly One In Five A Year Ago

(Source: Redfin) By Rachel Musiker

Yet many would be hesitant to move to a place where people have different political views; more than half of Arab, Asian and Latino respondents said immigration orders influenced their moving plans

In May 2017, Redfin commissioned a survey of 3,350 U.S. residents in 11 metropolitan areas who in the past year bought or sold a home, attempted to do so or plan to do so soon. The purpose of the survey was to better understand the perspectives and experiences of people who were recently in the market to buy or sell a home, and to reveal trends over the past two years since we began commissioning similar surveys.

Following are six major findings:

  1. Thirty-three percent of people who bought a home in the last year made an offer without first seeing the home in person. That’s up from 19 percent a year ago.
  2. Affordable housing was the most prevalent economic concern, cited by 40 percent of buyers; 21 percent said rising prices led them to search in more affordable metro areas.
  3. Forty-one percent of buyers would be hesitant to move to a place where people have different political views from their own.
  4. Orders restricting immigration influenced the buying and selling plans of 52 percent of Arab, Asian and Latino respondents; 45 percent of minority buyers felt that sellers and their agents may have been less eager to work with them because of their race.
  5. Buyers remain resilient amid the prospect of rising mortgage rates. Just 5 percent said they’d cancel their plans if rates surpass 5 percent.
  6. Fifty-one percent of buyers and 46 percent of sellers saved money on real estate commissions.

“Millennials are already starting to set trends in the real estate industry,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “They are three times more likely than Baby Boomers to make an offer sight-unseen, and they’re more likely than older buyers and sellers to negotiate commission savings. Despite their tech-savvy confidence, politics are seeping into Millennials’ decisions about where to live; nearly half cited hesitations about moving to a place where their neighbors wouldn’t share their views.”

1. More buyers made offers on homes sight-unseen.

One-third of people who bought a home in the last year said they made an offer on a home without first seeing it in person. That’s up from 19 percent last year and from 21 percent two years ago. Millennials were even more likely to have made an offer sight-unseen, with 41 percent saying they had done so, compared with 30 percent of Gen-Xers and 12 percent of Baby Boomers.


The abundance of photos–including interactive 3D photography like Redfin 3D Walkthrough that lets people virtually walk through Redfin listings–and other information available online about homes for sale helps buyers feel comfortable bidding on a home they haven’t set foot in. But the strong prevalence of sight-unseen bids this year is likely due in great part to the record-fast speed of today’s highly competitive housing market. The typical home that sold in May went under contract in just 37 days, a week faster than homes were selling a year ago and the fastest pace on record since at least 2010 when Redfin began keeping track.

2. Buyers’ most common economic concern was affordable housing; one in five said rising home prices caused them to search in another metro area.

Affordable housing was the economic concern most commonly cited by people who bought or tried to buy in the last year, with 40 percent selecting that issue, followed by the income gap between the rich and the poor (38%) and the federal budget deficit (27%). Low on the list of concerns were the trade deficit (13%) and restrictive immigration policies (15%).


With affordable housing a frequent concern, rising home prices drove more than one in five (21%) people who bought or tried to buy a home last year to search for homes in another metro area where homes were more affordable. When asked how high home prices affected their search, buyers were more likely to say only that they searched in more affordable neighborhoods (32%), searched farther outside the city center (26%) or that they considered smaller homes (23%) or fixer-uppers (22%).

Continue reading at Redfin …