Just as stock market predictions fluctuate every day, so do the predictions about the housing market. Take a look at some of the headlines I ran across doing a Google search:
Coronavirus Fallout: U.S. Housing Prices Will Tumble (on April 10 from Bloomberg)
These U.S. Housing Markets are most vulnerable to a coronavirus downtown (April 12 on MarketWatch…and no, Oregon did not make that list)
Housing market plunge looms thanks to coronavirus (April 21 Forbes)
Coronavirus: Housing demand may be bouncing back (April 23 CNBC)
Nearly 3 in 4 Realtors report no reduction in listing price to attract buyers (April 23 NAR)
Real estate experts optimistic coronavirus won’t have long-term impact on housing market (May 2 on KATU)
Who’s a person to believe?
I’d say talk to someone in the trenches, like a professional Realtor working the market you’re living in or hoping to move to.
I’ve been a Realtor in the Portland metro area for over 30 years, specializing in the Lake Oswego/West Linn market and this is what I’ve been seeing.
Market activity has slowed. That being said, I have closed on four sales in the past two months. But we are feeling some impact from the uncertainty facing the job and stock markets and from the fact that people are staying close to home. Out-of-state transfers fuel a big part of our market, especially on the high end in Lake Oswego, and with current travel restrictions in place, that driver has not played the role it typically does when spring rolls around.
Safety measures are in place to enable real estate transactions to continue here in Oregon. For example, in the sales that I handled, in-person showings were allowed but only by following established social distancing protocol. Shoe coverings and gloves were worn, face masks encouraged, and surfaces sanitized both before and after.
Technology is helping navigate the home search process during these unprecedented times. Virtual tours are a given, and in states like California for a while, they were the only way a potential buyer could view a home. Adding in the 3D perspective makes the experience even more interactive as potential buyers can hang out in rooms they’re most interested in and zoom in on specific features. For a narrated tour, I can walk potential buyers through a FaceTime call, enabling them to not only see the house but get their questions answered in real-time. Much of the paperwork can now be handled digitally as well, eliminating the need to meet face-to-face.
With people sheltering-in-place, many are taking the time to re-evaluate the house they are living in as I referred to in a recent blog. The results of those inventories may result in pent-up demand once conditions start to ease—people wanting to move to bigger homes, bigger yards, smaller homes with fewer rooms to clean, houses with office space for working remotely. There was a shortage of homes for sale leading into the pandemic, so there is definitely room for more homes to come on the market to meet the adjustment homeowners may be wanting to make.
Judging by the experiences of the clients I’ve ushered through these challenging times, I can tell you that there are great opportunities in the market right now. It requires doing business a little differently, which is all the more reason why you need a well-experienced Realtor to help you navigate this new territory. Please give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website to get the conversation started. I’m here to help.