One in five recent home buyers said they made an offer sight-unseen, according to a Redfin-commissioned survey in May of 1,463 people across 14 major markets who had bought a home in the last year.

That's down from 35% in a similar survey conducted in November, when the share of buyers making sight-unseen offers had been growing consistently for at least a year and a half.

The company said its analysts first noticed in May that the prevalence of sight-unseen offers had returned to 2016 levels, and they struggled to pinpoint a clear explanation. At that time, the market was breaking records for price growth, competition and home-selling speeds. Buyers felt pressured to move incredibly quickly to secure the most desirable homes, which were off the market in a matter of days. Making an offer without seeing the home first in person had become an advantageous strategy for buyers in inventory-strapped markets like Denver or Seattle.

In July, Redfin first reported that the market was beginning to shift toward buyers' favor, with rising inventory and slowing price growth. Buyers had become more choosy about what homes to move on and were behaving less hasty in making offers. And now, buyers are facing fewer multiple-offer situations, which allows buyers even more time to visit homes in person before making an offer. Redfin analysts now believe that the declining prevalence of sight-unseen offers was likely an early indicator of this changing market. Redfin intends to watch this trend closely and plans to survey home buyers again this fall to see if the prevalence of sight-unseen offers continues to change.

"Now that most homes are staying on the market for longer than a week, there just isn't as much pressure for buyers to make offers so hastily," said Jessie Culbert, a Redfin agent in Seattle. "That's a big change from earlier this year when sellers set offer review deadlines, and they were strict! This meant that whether or not you had time to physically step inside the home, you had to get your offer in on time in order to be considered. Otherwise you would miss out entirely on the opportunity to compete for it."

It's also worth pointing out that one in five home buyers making offers sight unseen is still significant.