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Virus outbreak impacts homes sales, but relators optimistic about housing market

Virus outbreak impacts homes sales, but relators optimistic about housing market
Posted at 4:01 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 16:01:42-04

Like almost every other sector of the economy, the coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on the housing market.

“It’s causing things to be a little more difficult,” said realtor Deborah Baisden.

Over the last few weeks, Baisden has been dealing with more and more homeowners worried about buying and selling their homes.

“Sellers, now, are in a position now where they are nervous about having people come into their homes,” explained Baisden. “So, we are trying to mitigate that as realtors by making sure they have windows open and we have hand sanitizers at the door.”

On the buyer’s side, realtors like Baisden are warning their buyers not to touch surfaces in homes they visit and are pushing for more virtual tours.

“So, there are a lot of ways we are trying to adapt, but it is affecting the volume of showings,” added Baisden.

And the impacts are showing on a national level. According to a new report from Realtor.com , the number of newly listed properties in the third and fourth week of March fell by 13 percent and 34 percent, respectively. The decline may indicate sellers are either de-listing their homes or holding off on prior plans they had to sell.

“The one good news for the housing market, unlike the stock market, is that we’re not seeing any volatility in prices,” said Lawrence Yun, an economist at the National Association of Realtors.

The National Association of Realtors has been tracking the decline of home sales and listings in March but has also been monitoring current activity that could make the housing market stronger in the weeks and months to come. For example, activity like the federal government lowering interest rates.

“I anticipate interest rates will remain low for quite some time, and for those with secure employment, it is a great opportunity to grab those low mortgage rates,” Yun added.

So, for those who de-listed their homes or who were planning to sell now but are holding off, Yun and Baisden advise you to use this time to get your home ready for when the market bounces back.

“Sellers, start prepping,” said Baisden. “Start doing some landscaping and all of those things you can start to do to make sure you are ready, because as soon as we start flattening that curve, things are going to explode again.”

In Baisden’s 30-year career, she has learned spring is usually real estates’ busiest season, and she believes this year, COVID-19 will just push that until summer.