Home-buying demand is starting to come back.
The number of customers reaching out to real estate agents was 5.5% higher in the week ended May 10 than it was prepandemic, according to new data from Redfin. The real estate firm also said new listings have increased every week for the past month.
Also, the number of homes Americans pulled off the market that were unsold — known as "delistings" — peaked in the 28-day period ended April 9, when 7.2% of active listings were delisted across Redfin's business markets. Now, for the 28-day period ended May 8, that number is down to 6.6%.
Despite the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, three top U.S. luxury brokers say now could be the best time to buy or sell your home.
Here is a look at three megahomes that hit the market in the past week and what brokers are saying about each market:
"Now is the right time to sell a house," said luxury real estate broker Aaron Kirman, whose team just listed this $33.4 million estate in Beverly Hills.
"Most people, when Covid-19 happened, retreated and took their house off the market," said Kirman, the star of CNBC's "Listing Impossible." "I argued not to pull one house off the market — and we didn't."
Instead, Kirman moved forward with price reductions, new listings and virtual showings.
"Today, sellers are more committed to selling houses than they were before [Covid-19], because of uncertainty," Kirman said. "A lot of people are ready to make changes, those living in vertical places — like New York, for example — are coming to LA."
With more than $6 billion in sales over his 20-year career, the power broker said his favorite parts of the new listing are the property's historic stone archway imported from an old Lebanese church as and its nine unique fireplaces, which were brought in from France.
"At the end of the day, people need houses at all price points. Where people live is more important than ever."
Events like a worldwide pandemic change consumer behavior in profound ways.
"The concept of luxury is evolving. A residential sanctuary in the post-Covid world isn't just about bells and whistles. It's also about intangibles — like comfort and safety," said South Florida real estate broker Senada Adzem, who just listed a $23.5 million estate in Delray Beach.
With social distancing and shelter-in-place orders making showing real estate tough, the luxury broker is taking qualified buyers through her new $23.5 million listing, "The Rocky Brook Estate," virtually.
"Buyers in the ultra-luxury category not only are planning for life after the lockdown, but they're doing it with a critical eye after spending so much time in their current residential spaces," she said.
Adzem, who recently crossed the $1 billion mark in career sales, said there has been a shift in the luxury category toward properties that have a private resort feel, which best describes her latest listing.
"It's glamorous. It's spacious. It's inviting," Adzem explained. "It's filled with jaw-dropping details and family-friendly spaces. It makes every day feel like a getaway."
Over the past 60 days, Adzem said she's seen sales and inquiries decrease due to the stay-at-home restrictions, stock market fluctuations and other pandemic-related factors.
"The families that were looking to buy were from larger cities in the northeast. In that sense, South Florida and its warmer year-round climate (and no state tax) continues to be an attractive destination," she said.
"As the stock market steadies and states begin to reopen, it's sparking more confidence — and the financial ability to act — for our high-net-worth clients," she said.
But even in New York City, which has been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus, new listing are being made.
"Everything has changed. Some changes are bad, some good and some just different," said Noble Black, a Douglas Elliman broker who recently listed this nearly $7 million condo in New York City's Upper West Side neighborhood.
"It's really been a conversation with each seller over their comfort level on when to list. We're listing some now and holding many."
Black, who's also had more than $1 billion in career sales, said he expects New York City should see a substantial jump in listings market-wide as soon as the rules are relaxed on showings or when that seems imminent.
"For all the talk of virtual showings, most buyers by far still want to walk a property before buying," Black said. "With everyone at home, we can see that online traffic is up by huge amounts. Some buyers are buying sight unseen, but even those that aren't, are doing their research in preparation for when they can tour a home in person."
"This situation has been hard because there's been so much unknown with the science, health, economic aspect, and then when one adds on difficulty seeing properties in person, it's just too much uncertainty for many," Black said.
"People appreciate now more than ever just how important their home is and that will inspire many moves: upsizing, downsizing, second home purchases and renovations," he said.