One of the questions we’re asked almost on a daily basis is “How’s the real estate market?” Most people we speak with assume that, because of the pandemic, it’s come to a screeching halt and that prices have plummeted.
Neither of these assumptions are true. In fact, people are still buying and selling homes. We’re not seeing the volume of activity that we usually see in the spring market, but the market is not stagnant. The metro Atanta market continues to see very low inventory of homes for first-time buyers in the low price points.
Prices have remained much the same as they were before the onset of the pandemic, much to the dismay of homebuyers. Home sellers are digging in and few are willing to take rock-bottom offers.
It’s the low interest rates, however, that keep homebuyers in the market.
How does real estate work in a country under attack by a virus? It’s different, that’s for sure. But the workarounds to maintain social distancing have actually turned out to be quite efficient.
Viewing homes for sale
A recent Realtor.com survey finds that nearly 60 percent of home sellers say they would be fine with holding an open house.
Then, there are others who put restrictions on showings. For that reason, many homes are now shown virtually by the agent or with 3-D tours.
And, they’re being embraced by homebuyers. One of the big real estate portals says that they are seeing an almost 500 percent increase in requests for agent-led video tours, while another portal is seeing a nearly 200 percent increase in requests for 3-D home tours.
But, will they actually buy a home they’ve only toured virtually? According to the aforementioned Realtor.com survey, 25 percent of homebuyers aren’t opposed to buying a home they have never toured in person.
The number of home showings across the country took a dip on April 12, but has been steadily rising since then (an increase of nearly 24 percent as of April 26). Here is the latest results of the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) provided by the U.S. Census Bureau shows how Americans place immense value in homeownership, and it is continuing to grow in the United States. The results indicate that the homeownership rate increased to 65.3% for the first quarter of 2020, a number that has been rising since 2016 and is the highest we’ve seen in eight years
Strong owner household formation with around 2.7 million homeowners added in the first quarter has driven up the homeownership rate, especially under the decreasing mortgage interest rates and strong new home sales and existing home sales in the first two months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy.”
The NAHB also emphasizes the year-over-year increase in each generational group:
“The homeownership rates among all age groups increased in the first quarter 2020. Households under 35, mostly first-time homebuyers, registered the largest gains, with the homeownership rate up 1.9 percentage points from a year ago. Households ages 35-44 experienced a 1.2 percentage points gain, followed by the 55-64 age group (a 0.9 percentage point increase), the 45-54 age group (a 0.8 percentage point gain), and the 65+ group age (up by 0.2 percentage point).
Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream, especially in moments like this when many are feeling incredibly grateful for the home they have to shelter in place with their families. COVID-19 may be slowing our lives down, but it is showing us the emotional value of homeownership too.
If you’re considering buying and selling a home this year, contact a local real estate professional to set a plan that will help you get one step closer to achieving your dream.
The entire home buying and selling process has gone virtual, from home showings to inspections, appraisals and closings.
Please reach out if you have any questions about the process and how we can help you navigate it during the pandemic.