Locally and nationally, the real estate market was on track for one of the strongest performances for years when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, sidelining people and creating economic havoc. Now as stay-at-home orders are gradually lifting in parts of the country, data indicates that homebuyers are jumping back into the market, lured by low interest rates and a desire to move. And so although spring is usually the busiest real estate market, there are signs that summer is expected to be the “new spring” for real estate in 2020.
Google Trends, which scores search terms online, showed that searches for “real estate” increased from 68 points the week of March 15th to 92 points last week, indicating that more potential homebuyers are looking for homes virtually.
Meanwhile, mortgage applications for home purchases have also been continuing to recover and have now increased for five consecutive weeks. In fact, government purchase applications, including FHA, VA, and USDA home loans, are now 5 percent higher than they were a year ago, an encouraging turnaround after the weakness seen over the past two months, according to Joel Kan, an exonomist with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
Opportunity for Buyers
Many buyers who are still working are feeling more secure about the future of their jobs and that confidence combined with the appeal of the historically low interest rates, is creating a great opportunity for buyers.
“For the fourth consecutive week, the 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage has been below 3.3 percent, giving potential buyers a good reason to continue shopping, even amid the pandemic,” said Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac. “As states reopen, we’re seeing purchase demand improve remarkably fast, now essentially flat relative to a year ago.”
Opportunity for Sellers
Finding a home to buy is still a challenge in many areas, though, as many homeowners removed their listings from the market this spring. Though more people are now putting their houses on the market compared to a month ago, the current inventory is still extremely low in many areas. If you’re thinking of selling your house this summer, now may be the time to consider putting your home on the market. With so few homes on the market and more buyers looking, this season may be the time for your home to stand out from the crowd. With more buyers looking virtually, there are ways to list your home safely and effectively.
How Are Buyers Searching for Homes?
One of the key questions for both buyers and sellers is whether they can move forward with their plans safely. Our team has put a number of safety measures in place.
- Social Distancing & Basic COVID-19 Safety – We are remaining at least 6 feet from people at all times and providing masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer for anyone we’re working with who needs it as well as at all our listings. We are following Cal-OSHA guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing listings between showings to ensure cleanliness and safety for everyone involved.
- Virtual consultations – We are consulting via video conferencing with our clients to discuss their needs and goals and help create a strategy to help them create a game plan to successfully achieve their goals
- Photography and marketing – We are providing photos, videos, and 3D Matterport tours for all our listings. Our photographer and any other vendors we work with only enter listings that are empty and utilize personal protective equipment while avoiding touching any surfaces
- Virtual Open Houses & Showings – We are able to “virtually” show our listings via video and virtual open houses, limiting showings to serious, motivated, and qualified buyers who have already “viewed” a home virtually and who follow all safety measures
- In-person showings – We’ve established guidelines for showings to limit this step to buyers who are serious, motivated, and qualified
- Offers & Inspections – We’re able to review offers virtually and walk our clients through signing virtually.
- Inspections & Appraisals – These are also done with just the inspector or appraiser in the home, utilizing appropriate safety equipment and protocols. are done with only the inspector inside the
For more information, visit our Virtual Real Estate Page, or give us a call at 562.896.2456.