Coronavirus Impacts Local Housing Market

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I never imagined I would be writing an article about the impacts of a world-wide pandemic on the real estate market. I’ve been in the business long enough to have experienced many things, including the fall of the real estate market in 2008 when the “bubble burst.” Not even that could have prepared me for the unknowns of the real estate market amidst a pandemic.

The past couple months have been anything but “business as usual.” I like to say we are doing “business as usual, in a not so usual way.”

At the beginning, when the stay-at-home order was put into place, there was some initial fallout. With concern for their safety, some sellers took their homes off the market. Some transactions fell apart due to job losses and some buyers got concerned and stepped out of the buying market.

Agents and other industry professionals scrambled to determine what we could and couldn’t do and what was considered “essential” in our industry. Many people had to quickly set-up workspaces within their personal residences and make accommodations to work from home. In addition, a lot of people were also trying to balance kids home from school and schoolwork needing to be done. It was a big adjustment with each day bringing new information and new necessary accommodations.

Trying to find Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves and masks became a daily challenge as agents and industry professionals immediately set-up COVID-19 safety procedures for each aspect of the business (meeting with clients, showing homes, photography, inspections, appraisals, signing closing documents, etc.) The industry quickly shifted business practices to accommodate the need for social distancing and safety. While it took a little while to get used to it, this has become our new “normal.”

The good news is… we have come through this with flying colors! We have learned to quickly adjust and turnaround timeframes are pretty much back to pre-pandemic days.

While most activities were halted in April and May due to COVID-19, people continued to buy and sell real estate. In the Portland metro area, prices are up and the average days on the market has decreased. Sellers are benefitting from the low inventory of available homes and buyers are benefitting from historic low interest rates.

Despite the pandemic, unemployment, stock market swings and overall uncertainty, the real estate market is strong. It is anyone’s guess as to what to expect in the upcoming months, but as of right now, homes are selling and prices are stable.

I would like to say “thank you” to those that I work with. I feel proud to be part of an industry of professionals who have banded together to support one another during a time of much uncertainty. The industry’s immediate implementation of new business practices and important safety precautions have played an important role in maintaining a strong real estate market.

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