Photographer: Chris Rank/Bloomberg

markets

A Third of U.S. Homebuyers Are Bidding Sight Unseen

Thirty-five percent of homebuyers in the U.S. aren’t even visiting the property before they put in a bid, amid torrid competition in a tight market, according to the latest survey by Redfin Corp.  

The survey, conducted in November and December, polled 1,503 people who had purchased a home in the previous year. It found that the proportion of those bidding sight unseen was almost double the 19 percent reported in June 2016, the brokerage firm said in a statement Monday. Younger buyers were more comfortable bidding without visiting, and the practice was more common out West, particularly in Los Angeles, where more than half of respondents said they’d done so.

The competition for homes is fierce, and brokerage firms such as Redfin have taken advantage of the tumult to promote online virtual tours. In addition to ordinary home hunters scrambling for an edge, out-of-town and foreign buyers sometimes bid without visiting. While a jump from a fifth to a third of buyers in a little over a year is striking, the survey’s relatively small sample size may be a factor. 

Certainly more buyers are bidding without visiting, as a frenzy grips some of the hottest U.S. residential markets. Here’s Redfin’s breakdown:

Looks Aren’t Everything

Percentage of buyers bidding on a home without visiting it

Redfin Corp.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE