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Today’s episode is all about the data! Our guest, Jessica Lautz, is the VP of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at NAR, where she focuses on different trends in the industry and how this directly affects different housing markets. In today’s episode, they discuss the transforming market due to COVID-19 and trends that the data is reflecting. They also discuss the impacts of this data for the coming months, and what the next few months look like for agents across the nation.

It’s important to know about and understand data as a REALTOR®. Understanding the nuances of the data helps you track changes in preferences and demographics, as well as other aspects that can help you plan for the coming months. The data can also help you see the bigger picture around trends you may be noticing in your own market. Monica talks about how she has applied surveys and data in two of her own listings.

Jessica talks about some of the trends that we are seeing during this time of COVID-19. One of the big trends is getting houses move-in ready so that when sellers are ready to put their houses on the market they will be ready for the buyers. They also talk about the contrast of downsizing — in size and money — while some people are looking for larger spaces to accommodate work and school from home.

REALTORS® can access this data and research on social media and on the NAR website: nar.realtor/research-and-statistics. Jessica talks about the process of gathering their data, and some of the data sources they use, including their members and information from government sources. They extract the things that are important for consumers to understand. This content is great for agents to share with their clients in their regular communication.

Jessica talks about some of the results of COVID-19 that will impact the next six to eight months, or maybe even longer. Two of the biggest things cropping up are more office space, but also more outdoor space for recreation or gardening. There is also an increase in multi-generational housing; they also talk about the potential for a baby boom and pet adoption. Monica and Jessica discuss how these trends affect different demographics of home buyers.

Jessica and Monica talk about the specific demographic of younger and older Millennials, and how Wi-Fi and working from home has been a big shift in where they are buying, and when they are buying. They also talk about what trends they are seeing in older generations, in terms of their debt, retirement, and multi-generational housing.

The data shows that there is a strong recovery for the economy right now. Monica and Jessica talk about the importance of affordability in this market, and the inventory shortage. Interest rates are low right now so some buyers are able to enter the market. As agents, if you dig into your markets and go beyond the MLS, you might find the inventory to help your clients.

It’s important to have patience right now in this transforming market. COVID-19 is changing so much about real estate, and buyers are receptive and eager for the personal relationship with their REALTOR®. 

One of the recent things Jessica has looked into is how legalizing marijuana has affected the commercial sector and residential real estate. There is an increased demand for storefronts and warehouses in the commercial sector, but Jessica talks about some of the complications it is causing for the residential areas. Looking at the laws in states where it’s legal and connecting with agents in that state can be helpful to apply to your market.

One final tool they highlight is NAR’s Right Tools, Right Now program. This program features new resources and discounted classes to support real estate professionals during the COVID-19 era. Using these resources can provide the information you need to work with new consumers who are out there and ready to buy.


“When we close a data set, it’s like a box of chocolates — you don’t know what you’re gonna get until you really start diving into it. You start seeing what people’s opinions are and how they’re changing.”
— Jessica

“Without understanding what’s going on in local markets, we can’t grab that data.” — Jessica

“Go look for the inventory. I think sometimes it’s out there, and if you can get it in advance, you’re doing everyone a service. Plan for the long-term rather than live in the urgency of the day-to-day MLS.”

About Jessica Lautz

Dr. Jessica Lautz is Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at the National Association of REALTORS®. The core of her research focuses on analyzing trends for both NAR members and housing consumers. Through the management of surveys, focus groups, and data analysis, she presents new and innovative ways to showcase results. Jessica received her Doctorate of Real Estate from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from American University and undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Law and Justice from Central Washington University. She has four cats and enjoys yoga and wine.