Opendoor, Zillow begin pausing homebuying, citing coronavirus concerns
As uncertainty in the housing market keeps rising, so does the number of iBuyers pressing the pause button on buying homes.
Friday afternoon, Zillow told HousingWire that it would temporarily stop purchasing homes in California via its iBuying outlet, Zillow Offers. “To comply with California’s ‘Stay at Home’ order, we are temporarily pausing purchasing homes through Zillow Offers in the state while the order is in effect,” Zillow said. “The safety of our employees, customers, and partners is our first priority, and while this is a drastic step, we understand the importance in following the guidance of local and state authorities in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
However, Zillow plans to continue operating outside of California. “Nationwide, we continue to operate Zillow Offers to serve those in need of buying and selling a home, and are doing so in a way to ensure we are able to accommodate a rapidly changing environment. These are unprecedented times and we are actively monitoring our communities, public health authority recommendations and local housing markets to adapt to conditions as needed.”
On Wednesday, Opendoor suspended its iBuying platform, citing public safety concerns due to the spread of COVID-19. “Like the rest of the world, we have been closely monitoring the escalation of COVID-19 over the last few weeks,” a spokesperson for Opendoor said. “We’ve been heartened by stories of resilience and support in this unprecedented time, and we’re mindful of the impact this crisis has had on the communities we serve and the teammates we work with across the country. Our priority is the safety and well-being of our customers, employees and the general public.”
Opendoor said that it made its decision based on guidance and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control. “We are also highly aware of the impact COVID-19 is having on local communities,” the spokesperson said. “With closures and staffing issues facing government offices, home transactions are already being delayed in some regions. We understand the strain that puts on customers. By pausing offers temporarily, we can proactively address the situation.”
OpenDoor wasn’t the only company this week to suspend iBuying activities. On Wednesday, Redfin announced it would be suspending its iBuying program, after announcing that its agents are no longer allowed to show open houses in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“On March 18, 2020, we announced that RedfinNow, our business that buys homes directly from homeowners and resells them to homebuyers, will temporarily pause making offers on homes,” the company disclosed Wednesday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“With whole cities shutting down nearly all commerce, no one can say what a fair price is right now, so we’re not making any instant offers. We expect to be making instant offers again soon, but only when the market becomes more predictable,” Kelman concluded. “Our discipline today is the discipline we’ve always had, and that we’ve always said we would have.”
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