As if the current real estate market wasn’t tough already, we have to now compete with the Coronavirus and the media about it. Here is my take on what is happening.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause a range of symptoms including a runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. Some are mild, such as the common cold, while others are more likely to lead to pneumonia. They’re usually spread through direct contact with an infected person. The one we are hearing about today that is responsible for thousands of confirmed cases, started in Wuhan China and has been identified in over 100 countries including the US is called COVID-19
Whats crazy is the amount of people who are stockpiling supplies right now. Its amazing to see empty shelves at the stores. Water…gone, Toilet paper…gone, Paper Towels…gone, Hand Santizer…gone. I even looked on Amazon the other day to see if we could get hand santizer and it was mostly sold out. I did find one seller who was selling 12 of the 8 fl oz bottles for only $489.95!! This is absolutely crazy.
How does the Coronavirus seem to affect the current real estate market
While active home buyers are anxious to find a house in this market, some are taking a step back and putting things on hold while they await to hear how this Coronavirus will turn out. As much as they want to get into a house, they don’t want to take too much of risk by coming in contact with someone or something that has been affected.
Additionally, we will likely see a delay in sellers listing their homes as well due to some uncertainty of having strangers coming in and out of their house.
While the confirmed cases in our area are extremely low, sellers and buyers both are taking precautionary measures to make sure they stay healthy.
The National Association of Realtors recently wrote an article for Realtors offering some guidance to help Realtors respond to the potential impact.
What about showing houses or holding open houses?
The NAR says to speak openly and honestly with your seller about the pros and cons of holding an open house. Assess the risk based on your specific location, and direct your clients to local and state health authorities for specific information about the severity of the risk in your area. You could also propose alternative marketing opportunities for your seller’s consideration, such as video tours and other methods to virtually tour a property. If you do hold an open house, consider requiring all visitors to disinfect their hands upon entering the home, and provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers at the entryway, as well as soap and disposable towels in bathrooms. If you decide to do any cleaning at your client’s home, be sure to check with your client in advance about any products you plan to use. After the open house, recommend that your client clean and disinfect their home, especially commonly touched areas like doorknobs and faucet handles.
What about mortgage rates?
We have been seeing a lot of articles and talk about the rates as well. Right now, rates are still at all time lows which is still making it the best time for buyers to get out there and get into new homes and for current home owners to refinance their mortgages. Whether you are thinking of buying or refinancing, you owe it to yourself to talk to a lender about the benefits of acting now before these historic rates are gone.
How does the Coronavirus affect new construction?
According to the National Association of Home Builders, nearly a third of home building material inputs come from China including some products like bathtubs, sinks, appliances, fixtures and other products.
With low inventory levels, new construction has picked up, however this could potentially slow things down just as they are getting the momentum built up and contribute to the already low home count.
The biggest thing we should do right now is to not panic and stay aware of whats going on around you. Stay healthy, wash your hands and avoid any large functions or gatherings until things get worked out. As for buying and selling real estate, it will still happen. There are sellers who need to sell and buyers who need to buy. Those buyers and sellers who are going to continue shopping through this are likely going to have a little bit of an edge on those who choose to wait. At the end of the day, its up to you to do whats best.
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