This question comes up in every conversation I have with friends, family, and past and present clients. Like all businesses, real estate is affected because purchasing a residential home is very personal. Traditionally this has been done by real estate agents escorting buyers on tours of homes where they go into people’s most personal spaces.
As expected, homeowners and homebuyers are reticent to do this now, even though Governor Murphy has made it clear that homes can be shown using the utmost caution (wearing gloves and a mask) and social distancing measures.
In response to the current pandemic, I’m including online video tours of my listings. These tours serve as a way to virtually “walk through” properties. I’m also available to video chat with prospective buyers from properties to help them get a better look at them and answer their questions in real time.
Of course, if buyers are interested in seeing a property in person, that can be done as long as the sellers are agreeable and social distancing rules are observed.
Affect on the Spring Market
The Spring real estate market has been artificially stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is concern among some that this will lead to another housing crisis. However, Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, who spoke to the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services leadership team today, believes that our Spring market will push into the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2020 and further, into the 1st quarter of 2021. Deals that would have been made this Spring will still occur, just at a later date. Dr. Yun even expects housing prices nationally to climb by as much as 2% due to pent-up demand following this shutdown.
Obviously, the health of our citizens has to be our primary concern. My hope is that the social distancing we’re practicing now will have the desired effect of flattening the curve of the virus so that we can go back to “business as usual” sooner rather than later.