The market has been stabilizing, demand for housing is on the rise, and even though cases of the virus are still coming to light, the numbers are tapering and Americans are slowly being let back into their offices. Following that news, Redfin has announced that it is bringing back around 350 of its furloughed staff, including agents.
Part of the reason for this decision is that Redfin has seen a spike in home demand which has passed the pre-pandemic levels and growing.
Adam Wiener, the Chief Growth Officer at Redfin, said:
“New cases of the coronavirus have certainly tapered from their peaks back in April, but over 20,000 new cases are still being reported daily in the U.S. and last week another 2.4 million workers filed for unemployment benefits. Home-buying demand seems to have been largely unaffected in the face of those headwinds.”
He goes on to say that the reasoning behind this is that many of those unemployed are on the lower side of the income spectrum, and aren’t the targeted audience for buying houses, anyway. Many of those who were looking to buy before the pandemic have merely put their plans on hold. Now that the market is stabilizing, those plans are being to churn again.
Therefore, to meet the growing demand for housing, Redfin has brought back 35% of its furloughed staff. It was in early April that the company had decided to furlough around 1,000 of its employees (7% of its staff), which included real estate agents (which are salaried employees at Redfin, not contractors).
Originally, they were to be furloughed until September 1, but during a recent Q1 call with company CEO, Glenn Kelman, it was revealed that the company had already begun to bring back some of the furloughed staff.
“Many buyers assumed prices would fall as the pandemic set in, but sellers seem to be holding firm. The increase in home prices and stories from Redfin agents suggest that sellers who don’t sell are more likely to take their home off the market and wait rather than accept a lower price.
“Some buyers are still out bargain shopping, but are finding there aren’t many deals to be had.”
This pattern is expected in the coming weeks, where companies are going to need the manpower to meet the demand of the market while consumers scramble to move before the second wave of the pandemic (expected to begin in fall) hits.