The tight US housing market is prompting a growing number of homebuyers to bid before they’re able to see the properties in person, a Redfin survey found.
Last year, 35% of homebuyers — over a third — made an offer sight-unseen, according to a survey conducted late last year. That’s up from 33% of buyers that were polled in May 2017, and 19% of those polled in June 2016.
It shows how heated the race to make the fastest and most attractive offer has become.
Because builders are unable to keep up with the pace of demand, housing markets in many major cities are tight, except at the luxury end. Additionally, existing homeowners trying to upgrade may be able to sell quickly, but often hesitate knowing they’ll face a much tougher buyer’s market. That’s making even fewer homes available for sale.
Millennials were much more likely than older homebuyers to make offers sight-unseen. Redfin’s Greg McCarriston, who authored the report, said this was partly because the younger demographic tends to have more faith in what they see when shopping online. Remote shoppers also relied on agents to conduct live video tours, and for advice on details like school districts and neighborhoods.
A full 57% of offers in Los Angeles were made sight-unseen, while 46% of offers San Diego, and 44% in San Francisco were made remotely, according to the study.
“Demand is relentless despite all of these headwinds homebuyers should be facing in terms of low inventory competition and high prices,” Cheryl Young, a senior economist at Trulia, told Business Insider. “I think we’ll actually see demand continue going up this year.”