I hope that everyone is doing well in these unusual times. The market report that is featured below offers a snapshot of the first quarter 2020. This shows what was going on right before Covid hit. The year started off with a strong economy, an extremely strong real estate market and the expectation that we were off to an outstanding year. I expect that the second quarter market report will show quite different figures. The coronavirus has changed everything. Many sellers have taken their homes off the market or are waiting to put their home on the market. There are fewer buyers actively looking right now. Sold numbers are just starting to decline, but it is important to remember that those solds went under contract in March before the pandemic hit. Moving forward the sold figures will drop since they will be indicative of sales during the current crisis. The important number to look at is the homes with contracts pending, since that is a more accurate indicator of what is going on right now.
We are hopeful that we will see figures start to trend upward again in the third quarter, with the anticipation of pent up demand leading to a positive fall real estate market.
However, if you need to buy or sell now there is opportunity. For sellers, since there are fewer homes on the market right now, there is less competition for your home. And if you are a buyer, you can take advantage of the fact that there are fewer buyers actively looking for you to compete with over the home that you want. It is a very personal decision, whether you are comfortable looking at homes right now or having people go through your home. We are all trying to keep everyone as safe as possible while continuing to do business. It is helpful if sellers turn all the lights on and open doors, closets and cabinets to minimize people touching anything. Also, we are requesting everyone to wear gloves and masks, and sellers are wiping down surfaces and disinfecting frequently.
If you do decide to wait to put your home on the market, this is a good time to de-clutter, make updates and repairs, and get your landscaping ready to make a good first impression. Then you will be ready to take advantage of the pent-up demand when restrictions ease up in the 3rd or 4th quarter. One type of property that I have been getting a lot of inquiries on are retreat and/or sustainable farmette type properties. As a result of the pandemic we are seeing more people looking for private properties on about 10-30 acres where they can have a big garden, chickens, critters and shelter at home. Many people are interested in moving out of more crowded living conditions to a property with more space.
If you are a seller and your home will be vacant, you may still decide to put your home on the market, but if you are living in the home, it may be the best choice for your family to wait. There are people who need to buy or sell now, and as much as possible we will try to accommodate their needs. With people sheltering at home with time on their hands, anyone who is considering a move will be online searching listings. Good photographs and plenty of information will be more important than ever before.
Going forward I expect that we will continue to come up with creative ways to serve our clients while keeping everyone as safe as possible.