Our loyal blog readers know that we pride ourselves on keeping them in the loop on all things related to the real estate market.Sometimes that’s an article on innovative new products for your home (watch for that in coming weeks!).Sometimes it’s information about the mortgage market, and how it might affect your plans to move (such as the crazy up & down of interest rates right now). And sometimes it’s information about the value of a local, expert real estate agent (like our recent post on iBuying).

Today, we want to share some information on how we see the issue of coronavirus (Covid19) impacting our local real estate market.

Here is what we, and our colleagues in the industry are finding:

1.      Open houses are a thing of the past for the time being.Though last weekend was a busy spring buying & selling weekend, the NWMLS has chosen to cease to allow us to publish public open houses.  Just as we figured out how to allow buyers to enter with 6’ distance and not touch anything in the house, we’re now not doing them at all. The fact that we are not conducting open houses does not mean we cannot successfully sell your home for top dollar – we can!

2. Most buyers do not appear to be putting house-hunting on hold.The almost ridiculously low interest rates we’ve seen in the past weeks continue to bring buyers out in droves, in spite of the virus. Buyers who are at low risk seem to be unwilling to wait when it comes to entering the housing market.

3. Most sellers are moving forward with their plans to put their homes on the market.And it’s a good thing, given the demand we are seeing from buyers! We still need more housing inventory to meet buyer needs. In the 98042 zip code alone, 33 listings came on the market last week and 21 sold. Team Marti alone got clients in contract on five offers, coming in for our sellers or going out for our buyers.

4. Housing prices in most areas are stable or rising.Buyers are very interested in purchasing while their dollar buys them the most house for the buck. Low mortgage rates – under 4% – coupled with low inventory, creates strong motivation!And sellers are keenly aware that selling while buyer demand is high puts more money in their pocket.In the same study of the 98042 zip code mentioned above, all activity was reduced significantly compared to the prior week. While all four of these things can change, it appears that both buyers and sellers are being careful and cautious in their approach to the housing market right now.

If you are a seller and have someone at-risk living in your home, it may make sense to delay listing your home until more is known and until you’re comfortable. We are finding that buyers are just as cautious about picking up a virus as they are in not spreading it to homes the visit. Hand-sanitizer is our frequent companion when out showing! And though awkward, social distancing can be done!If you are a buyer and have someone at-risk living with you, it may be wise to delay in-person visits of homes for the time being.Both of these decisions will depend entirely on your fears, and your risk factors. What we’re hearing through the National Association of Realtors is that business can continue as usual for those of us who are low-risk (based on age and exposure) and that others might want to consider curtailing their activities.

It’s too soon to tell what impact the corona virus will have on our local market. After many years in this industry, I can tell you that I have seen many similar issues (SARS, MERS, Swine Flu, etc.) come and go without dramatic impact to the housing market. It may be that’s exactly what will happen this time.We know that the issue is a complex one, which will affect each buyer and seller differently. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your unique situation with you. Please let us know the best way to do that. And as always, we look forward to hearing from you.

Marti Reeder, Realtor, Managing Broker