The company on Monday said it would start homebuying in Phoenix, Tucson, Ariz., Raleigh, N.C. and Charlotte, N.C. Homeowners in those markets will now be able to receive an offer directly from the company. Zillow stopped home buying on March 23, in response to housing market uncertainty and public health concerns.
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The company hired former U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin, as its health adviser and implemented more virtual technology to show and sell properties without open houses or showings that may compromise social distancing orders. All Zillow-owned homes will now follow what the company is calling "CPD" protocol, which stands for "Clean, Protect, Distance” to keep customers safe as they tour homes.
What’s more, Zillow says individual homes for sale will undergo an additional cleaning process and that personal protective equipment like masks and gloves is recommended for in-person tours.
Economists from Zillow said earlier this month home sales could fall 60 percent in the spring, as stay-at-home orders put in place nationwide to minimize the spread of COVID-19 crippled the U.S. economy.
Zillow estimated that home prices would decline by around 3 percent by the end of the year, and home sales are expected to increase by roughly 10 percent per month through 2021, the economists said.