Over the last few months, the real estate market has benefited immensely from the use of technology and trust in agents — so much so that work-around processes for buying and selling properties have supported a boom where houses are actually selling at a faster rate now compared to this same time last year!
Last March and April, home-buying and selling was mostly put on pause as a result of local shutdowns, but the housing market has been one of the first areas of the economy to bounce back, as buyers have been enticed by record-low mortgage rates. After the housing market took an initial bash in March, pending home sales bounced back for a record gain in May and mortgage applications jumped to an 11-year high.
In a recent Relo Tip Tuesday video, Kelly House, Plus's manager of real estate services, gave a great backdrop on what we have been seeing happen in real estate from a relocation vantage point:
"What we’re experiencing during this pandemic is that fewer sellers are electing to list their home, but buyers are still very active in their searches. Sellers who do elect to go to the market are doing so with less competition, but buyers are eager to lock in their purchases and take advantage of record-low interest rates. Therefore, it remains a seller’s market in most locations.
So is now a good time to sell a property? The short answer in most markets and price ranges is ‘yes.’ Sellers that are comfortable listing during this time are coming into the market with reduced competition, but running into an active buyer pool. Although agents are starting to warn of some ‘shadow inventory’ that may be building. Shadow inventory is when homes are likely to come on the market within the next 60 to 90 days, but are waiting for the stay-at-home orders to be lifted. Agents then warn sellers that are waiting could run into increased competition later this summer and fall."
According to Realtor.com, 34 of 50 Largest Markets Now Above the Recovery Benchmark. The overall recovery index is showing greatest recovery in Las Vegas, Seattle, Boston, New York, and Denver. "For the first time since the pandemic began, all four major components of housing activity are growing above the January pace."
Ultimately, it has been the technology involved in the real estate buying and selling process — along with trusted agent relationships — that have powered the market through and shown its resiliency. Virtual walk-throughs and video conferencing using FaceTime or Zoom, 3-D mapping and scans, drone surveys, augmented reality technology from Streem, online portals and electronic signatures are all allowing the move to digital and have helped to overcome caution and concern of managing through the pandemic. This CNBC article asks whether home buying and selling can stay virtual? People still want to walk through to get a true feel for something that expensive and where they will live, but while that may be the final piece, most of the process has proven to be virtual!
Shelter has always been a basic personal need, but coronavirus and the ensuing lockdowns have made it more critical than ever. Home is not just a haven from the pandemic, it’s now the office, gym, movie theater and cocktail lounge in one. For real estate, an industry dependent on how people feel about a potential home in-person, the pandemic and the ensuing need for social distancing, cleanliness, and minimal contact, has changed technology’s role from nice-to-have into a must-have.