Florida Governor Ron Desantis declared residential and commercial real estate, including settlement services, essential on April 1, 2020. Christopher Krebs, the nation’s Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, designated real estate services as part of the nation’s “critical infrastructure.”
How have Realtors Changed their Practices during the Global Pandemic?
Realtors, buyers and sellers are able to abide by COVID-19 health and safety practices while getting deals done. Technology and good old-fashioned creativity are helping ease into this new style of sales. Buyers are touring homes virtually, agents are hosting walkthroughs using FaceTime, or buyers can simply review video tours, which is nothing new to the real estate world.
Others are showing in-person while remaining at least six feet from their customer. During in-person showings, agents report they are wiping down door handles, spraying lockboxes with disinfectant and opening up the property, closets and everything for the potential buyers including turning on and off light switches.
COVID-19 and its Affect on Local Real Estate
According to Florida Realtors, the state’s largest trade association, many economists had forecast sales would fall in May. The market quickly hit bottom during stay-at-home orders, but then bounced back. Long-term strength is really going to depend on unemployment trends.
The New Smyrna Beach Board of Realtors, serving all of Southeast Volusia County, published the market statistics report for April and May. The report describes member activity for the association and considers all inventory including condo, townhomes, manufactured and single family homes.
In April 2020, all inventory reports a decline in closed sales compared to April 2019. Townhomes and condos saw the deepest decline – down 51 percent. Pending home and condo sales also saw a decline with single family homes down 40 percent compared to April 2019. Average sales price across all inventory was up 15 to 20 percent across all inventory compared to this time last year.
In May 2020, all inventory still shows a decline in closed sales, but improved compared to the previous month report. Average sale price shows a decline across all properties from April to May as well as in comparison to this time last year. May is considered the “slow season” in some communities of Volusia County, but the report shows an increase of new pending sales across all the inventory.
It looks as if the real estate market is coming back, and the April crash during stay at home orders was just a speedbump in an otherwise strong seller’s market. Some are skeptical about the recovery noting that the housing market cannot boom with an economy that has already lost 40 million jobs. Homebuyers are already facing challenges as credit tightens and prices continue to rise.
According to Freddie Mac, at 3.23 percent, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is down compared to this same time last year. Recently, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 2.77 percent. Economists at Fannie Mae predicted last month that 30-year rates could go as low as 2.9 percent in 2021, however it’s unclear yet what effect the COVID-19 pandemic will have over the long term.
To request a copy of the current market statistics report or to find out what your property is worth, connect with a local realtor. For more information on the current mortgage rates and to find out what loans you may qualify for, connect with a local mortgage lender.