After reaching what is hopefully the peak in recent demand and prices, the real estate market appears to have stabilized. Many aspects of the industry look different at the end of this year than they did at the beginning, including market conditions and buyer/seller expectations. Here are five trends that we’ve seen:
Housing prices have steadily increased over the past few years and likely hit their peak in 2022. The New York Times reported that investment management firm Morgan Stanley predicted home prices will fall 7% from the peak of pricing in June 2022 to December 2023. Real estate professionals must shift their mindset and practices as market changes continue.
While the overall housing inventory is still lower than it was before the pandemic, many markets now have more available stock than they have over the past few years. The National Association of Realtors reported the total number of unsold homes on the market rose to 1.31 million in June compared with 860,000 in January. With more homes available, real estate professionals need to educate both buyers and sellers about the new climate and expectations.
After a roller-coaster year, mortgage rates fell from their peak, inching below the 7.08% high reached in late October, with the 30-year fixed rate reaching 6.61% in November. By focusing on educating potential buyers who assume rates are still at their peak, real estate professionals can encourage buyers to consider purchasing now. By using digital processes, such as remote online notarization (RON) and eClosings, closing times can be reduced, which can help buyers capitalize more on lower rates.
Virtual tours increased in popularity during the pandemic and the trend has continued. Buyers now increasingly expect to use technology to get a feel for homes online before deciding to look at them in person. Real estate professionals should continue to educate sellers on the fact that buyers look for these options in home listings. By helping sellers quickly and easily create tours, agents can provide high levels of service to both sellers and buyers.
Social media has become the foundation for real estate agents’ marketing plans. Virtuance reported that 71% of agents use social media in their marketing strategy. According to The Close, 80% of agents picked social media as the way that they planned to grow their business in 2022. Facebook was the top platform for agents, cited by 92% of respondents, with Instagram coming in second at 72%. YouTube was most popular for 37% of the agents, 18% ranked TikTok as their top choice and 14% prioritized Twitter.
While it’s easy to focus on the volatile market conditions and rates, real estate professionals need to also remember that the way we buy and sell homes has changed. Real estate professionals who turn to digital processes, such as e-signatures, eClosings, and online notarizations create a more positive experience for customers. And by providing a better experience, agents can increase customer loyalty, positive reviews, and referrals.