The Impact of COVID-19 on Mover Marketing
We’ve made it through the record-breaking lows of spring, and we are now seeing signs of a small recovery this summer. But there is some uncertainty ahead, especially as some states consider rolling back reopenings. We have analyzed our lead data and would like to share our insights on some new trends to help our customers adjust their marketing campaigns.
As expected, COVID-19 had a negative impact on the real estate market. There was a drop in new listings available after mid-March when cities and states implemented stay-at-home orders and Coronavirus policies. The new listing counts in April were the hardest hit: 39% below April 2019’s counts. There was a slight recovery towards the end of May, but May counts were still down 22% from last year.
In June, Realtor.com found that the total number of listings on their site in the first week of June was still down by 25% compared to last year. However, reviewing our data shown in the graph below, the number of new listings in June recovered, with 3% more new listings than June of last year.
Unfortunately, this quantity wasn’t the significant spike the industry was hoping would make up for the previous dip over the spring months, so the overall number of new leads available this year was down 7.8% compared to last year.
Based on the data, if states return to stay at home orders, it is highly likely that there will be another dip below the previous year’s lead quantities during the late summer and early fall months. Some homeowners will still be moving though, so you should adjust your marketing to prepare.
Tips for Movers:
Keep mailing! A common mistake movers make is to stop marketing when their calendar starts to fill up in the summer, but these summer mailings lead to responses in late summer and early fall. We have seen it many times; when movers stop marketing in the summer, they have a sharper slow down and a harder time recovering once they start mailing again in the fall.
This year, summer marketing will be even more critical, especially if we see an earlier than expected slowdown in late summer. By planning and continuing to market, you can fill your sales pipeline and protect your business from a severe slowdown.
Days on Market
With fewer homeowners listing their homes for sale this spring, there is now pent-up demand from buyers this summer, affecting the days on the market. The national average days on the market in June was 72 days, up 25% from last year, but days on the market can vary significantly between different regions.
Now, especially in states that have just started opening or are reversing the reopening stage, homes might spend a long time on the market. For example, in Boulder, Colorado (which is open) homes were on the market for an average of 33.5 days last month, while New York City averaged 244 days.
Days on the market only provides information about the homes sold, so it is helpful to see what percentage of the listings added in 2020 are still on the market. As shown in the graph below, 51% of the national listings added in May were pending or off the market by the end of the month. With half of the homes going off the market in a matter of weeks, movers should act fast to advertise their services.
Tips for Movers:
Timing is everything in marketing, and understanding your market is essential. Research the average days on the market in your area. Simply Googling “average days on the market (your area)” should provide a link to resources like Redfin’s housing market report for your area.
If you are in an area with shorter days on the market, it is critical to be contacting homeowners as soon as possible. Direct mail is a great way to contact homeowners within days of listing their homes for sale, so check out our daily leads and postcard fulfillment services.
If your area is experiencing longer days on the market, consider mailing to pending leads to remind homeowners of your services. They may have received your first postcard months ago, and a second postcard is a great reminder that you are still here to help with their move.
Asking Price Increases
Low inventory and high demand have resulted in price increases. From the data at MovingLeads.com, the national median asking price of properties that were still on the market by the end of May was $339,000. This median is comparable to Realtor.com’s May median asking price of $330,000, which they found to be an all-time high. As shown in the graph below, nationally, the majority of the home asking prices were below $500,000, but asking prices will differ depending on your location.
Tips for Movers:
Because of the shift in median asking prices, now is a great time to make sure that your lead criteria settings are still targeting your best potential customers. Review your list criteria and adjust the minimum and maximum asking prices if needed. Consider that your current settings could now include smaller homes or miss out on larger properties that are above your minimum and maximum asking price settings, respectively.
Buyer Demand Changing the Market
The pandemic also shifted the types of homes that buyers are looking for. Since there were fewer existing homes on the market this spring than usual, motivated buyers purchased new construction homes. Consequently, new home sales were up 12.7% year-over-year in May. This demand could drive an increase in new homes built in the future.
Additionally, because of the necessity and accessibility of remote work, many homeowners are considering relocating to the suburbs or more rural areas. Similarly, homeowners are looking for properties with more amenities, so luxury and vacation properties have started selling quicker than usual.
Another driver of buyer demand is the record low interest rates. The industry predicts rates to fall, possibly under 3%, which may motivate people to purchase larger homes.
Tips for Movers:
Be aware that there may be a larger proportion of new construction homes on the market in your area. New construction homes should not be mailed to because these homes do not have a viable homeowner. At MovingLeads.com, we filter out new constructions from our lists, so you only receive the best possible leads. Movers should avoid using raw MLS listings or lead providers that do not eliminate these types of properties.
Some movers have set their criteria to avoid mailing to the higher end of the market because these homeowners used to take much longer to respond, but now these large homes are selling faster than ever before. Consider adjusting your criteria to include these leads in your list, so you can book the largest household moves in your area. If you missed mailing to these higher-priced homes when they first came on the market, consider adding pending leads to catch up on the missed listings.
We hope that your staff, family, and friends will continue to stay healthy and safe. We thank you for partnering with us for your marketing campaigns. Even during these trying times, we know that direct mail can help you win business.