Sotheby’s International Realty CEO Philip White said people are moving back to cities after a migration away from them during the initial part of the pandemic, according to Bloomberg.
He said he’s “never seen [the market] any stronger than this,” in a video on the news website.
“We’re seeing a resurgence of people moving back into the cities [and] looking at properties there,” he said. “On our website alone, searches in San Francisco are up 200%. They’re up 173% in Manhattan. So, we’re just seeing a resurgence there across the board — Los Angeles as well. We’re not seeing the migration out of New York City, which we did see to some degree last year.”
He said home sales had unexpectedly fallen for the second consecutive month, with limited inventory and high prices making them less attractive to buyers.
“I think about the market,” he said. “… I think about the low interest rate, the great job the Fed has done, which really has propelled the stock market, and work from home. … People are viewing residential properties in more of an investment class manner. … I don’t think they want to be left on the sidelines. This low-rate economy really makes it very compelling for them to invest in residential real estate.”
White added that many of the transactions have been coming as the work-from-home trends continue.
“That spurred a lot of activity,” he said. “What it did was change people’s timeline. They may have been thinking about buying that property in five years, or seven or eight [years]. But they really accelerated it. I think they just felt like they could work from home, they had more flexibility.”
He added that people moving to be closer to family had also been a motivation.
The complexity and uncertainty of real estate transactions has long been a source of major headaches for buyers and sellers, with closings routinely contingent upon multiple factors. These types of frustrating experiences inspired the creation of HomeLight, a company formed to help ensure that real estate transactions are completed.
“The idea is that people should be able to buy and sell real estate with certainty,” CEO Drew Uher told PYMNTS. “They should know that when they put in a contract to buy a home, that contract is definitely going to close, meaning there should not be a contingency.”