Zillow Group, Inc. announced Monday that it will pause homebuying in the 24 markets where Zillow Offers operates to protect the safety and health of employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Our top priority is ensuring the safety and health of our employees, customers, and partners. Given the concerns for public safety and rapid developments by governments that restrict local real estate activities, we determined it was prudent to pause our home buying to preserve our capital," said Zillow Group CEO and co-founder Rich Barton. "We plan to restore Zillow Offers full operations once health concerns pass and local health orders are lifted. In the meantime, we are working to support our customers and partners in these uncertain times when a home has never been more important."
Zillow states the decision to “temporarily” pause making offers comes after states such as California, Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, New York, and Nevada have implemented emergency orders requiring people to stay home. These states have also enacted orders for all non-essential business activities, including real-estate activities, to stop.
"Zillow Group is well-positioned to navigate these unprecedented times. We already slowed our pace of acquiring homes over the past month, while our pace of home sales in the quarter accelerated. We have a strong balance sheet and cash position, and are taking proactive steps to reduce spending to offset the important financial support we're giving our industry partners so we may continue to best serve our mutual customers," Barton said.
The company also stopped all open houses for its home in all markets last week.
“All Zillow-owned homes include proprietary Zillow 3D Home technology to make virtual home tours easier and Zillow's local broker and Premier Agent partners offer virtual consultations,” a release states.
Zillow Group ended 2019 with 2,707 available homes. As of March 19, 2020, the company’s inventory balance had been reduced to roughly 1,860 homes.
A survey from the National Association of Realtors found 48% of realtors reported homebuyer interest has dipped due to the virus.
This number has tripled from the prior week when it was 16%. Sixty-nine percent said there’s no change in the number of homes on the market due to the virus, which is down from last week’s 87%.