According to John Burns Real Estate Consulting (JBRE), which tracks hundreds of builders nationwide, in the first four weeks of the national shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of newly built homes fell ~85% from normal spring activity. However, in the past two weeks, the numbers have started to climb. Devyn Bachman, JBRE’s manager of research, said “we’re still down roughly 65%, but more positive news is coming out of the new home market, particularly for builders who are targeting the first time and entry level buyers.” Bachman noted that lots of renters are leaving their apartments and eyeing the new home market. Why? According to Bachman “It is safe, it’s clean, it’s new, and it’s easy to show at this point. Lots of the builders have set up virtual tours on their websites, the sales agents are setting appointments for consumers to come in and tour models in a safe distance manner. They’re actually able to show the new home, where in several markets it’s very difficult to see resale listings at this point.”
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Homebuilders suddenly see sales jump as renters flee small urban apartments