Even though new home listings and home sales have dropped since COVID-19 hit, there are more buyers actively looking for homes online than a year ago, according to Zillow.
When shelter-in-place orders went into place around mid-March, page views for Zillow for-sale listings fell as much as 19% year over year, the company said.
But by mid-April, Zillow said that overall visits to its website rebounded to levels that were higher than they were a year ago.
Although the typical spring home-buying season has been altered due to COVID-19, there is clearly still interest among consumers. People are looking at homes listed online across the U.S., particularly in Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas and Atlanta.
Even though some metros have more viewer traffic than others, the national total is up 13% year over year for the week ending April 13, Zillow said.
Of significant note, Minneapolis had strong year-over-year growth in traffic before March 11, then made a massive drop starting March 16, around the time Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz closed public gathering areas and restaurants. Once mid-April rolled around, Zillow traffic spiked by double-digits.
New York metros, which have been a hot spot for the COVID-19 outbreak, had a decline of more than 30% for the seven-day period ending March 22, and stayed at about 24% down in the first week of April. The most recent available data for the seven days ending on April 13 shows New York listing views up, but still down about 8%.
Listing views for the Boston metro area, also a major COVID-19 hot spot, dropped more than 20% by the week ending March 20 and remained below that level through April 8, when it began to recover and go back to normal levels, Zillow said.
San Francisco saw a drop in listing views of 28% for the week ending March 22, but bounced back in the week ending on April 13, when traffic was higher than the same week last year.
Los Angeles, despite a 20% drop for the week beginning March 16, has seen higher year-over-year views through the first two weeks of April, according to Zillow.