There's very little debate that 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have changed our lives for the foreseeable future. For how long, nobody truly knows. What is certain is that, although it faced struggles similar to that of every other industry facing the coronavirus, the real estate industry is entering 2021 cautiously optimistic.
Here's what to know about real estate in the time of COVID.
Buyers Are Back
Early predictions about dire consequences for the real estate industry amidst the pandemic have been, surprisingly, mostly unfounded. Yes, many buyers and sellers hit the pause button on their plans back in April and May, at the height of the pandemic.
But as restrictions are relaxing across the country, buyers are racing back to the market. Although some listings (overpriced) have been slow to recover, buyers are feverishly taking advantage of historically low interest rates. Even with demand-driven home values skyrocketing in many markets, those lower rates make grabbing larger homes at a lower overall cost possible.
Attitudes are changing about how people view the houses they want—or need. Whether or not the pandemic has any substantive long term effect on real estate—or any other aspect of our lives—remains to be seen. What is changing is how we work, learn, and socialize with those nearest to us.
While living in or close to a major metropolitan area will always carry a certain romanticism, many potential homebuyers are realizing the appeal of outlying suburbs and cities. Homes with an office or den, flex space, and large yards or pools are suddenly en vogue.
Multigenerational needs are also increasing. From adult children moving back home to elderly relatives requiring direct care, single-family homes have to accommodate more than one family. It's not always easy to do that in a highrise downtown.
As 2021 gets closer, many people are anxious to flip the calendar to a new year. Even with rising optimism, the housing market faces one major challenge that could last into the new year and beyond—inventory, and the lack thereof.
Between tepid potential sellers taking a wait-and-see approach and new construction being almost nonexistent over the past six months, the supply isn't there to keep up with demand.
The imbalance is driving home values higher and higher in many markets. Although the overall supply may stabilize once we're past the pandemic, inventory was a problem before the coronavirus hit. Couple those conditions with low-interest rates, and sellers will be the ones to benefit over the coming year.
An Evolving Business
Nothing can ever replace the feeling of physically touring a home. That said, the pandemic forced everyone—buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals—to rethink how deals get done. For their part, agents and brokers are making the research and discovery phase of home buying far easier.
Gone are the days of a home listing featuring a handful of photos and helpful, if somewhat limited, property description. Now, 3D mapping, virtual walkthroughs, even YouTube videos, and drone surveys are the rule, not the exception.
The same goes for much of the paperwork involved in buying and selling. Although much of it is already completed digitally, it's now an expectation. So, even as homebuyers still require a home tour—it remains a significant investment, after all—expect every other aspect to eventually run virtually.If you're seeking a dedicated representative to help you navigate the uncertainty of real estate in the time of COVID, contact Denise Rosner today. Her tenacity and reputation for being "uncommonly excellent" will serve you well, whatever your real estate needs.