Here in the Indiana, when the pandemic was first announced, it slowed the market down drastically. Some sellers took their homes off the market completely. Some buyers were forced to stop looking because it didn’t affect their overall well-being or financial status to move.
A New Approach
As a real estate industry, we adjusted as well as we could to keep buyers and sellers safe. We now offer virtual tours and video meetings as the norm. Our real estate board developed COVID-19 waivers for buyers and sellers.
I personally show homes differently, now. We are now wearing masks at every showing; I carry sanitizer, booties for shoes, and Clorox wipes to sanitize any surface needing to be touched. Touching is limited; for example, I leave lights on until a viewing is finished. For my listings, I put together a “Corona Basket” which includes sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, paper towel, booties, gloves and a trash can. This keeps my sellers’ homes safe as well as buyers who prefer in-person tours.
Unusual Market Activity
Upon reopening after the initial shutdown, the housing market didn’t skip a beat. But this has not been a typical year at all! While we didn’t have our usual bustling spring activity, our fall and winter have been busier than usual. Interest rates have remained low, which keeps buyers searching for new homes and and sellers’ listings to receive top dollar.
The current Lafayette market is great for sellers. Active inventory has remained lower than it was a year ago, but both closed and pending sales are up, creating a housing shortage. This is causing listing prices to rise; price appreciation is exceeding 10%. Sellers are still receiving about 98% of their asking price, and homes are sitting on the market an average of only 25 days.
What is driving buyers to want to move? In addition to low interest rates, people are trying to follow the recommended guidelines for the pandemic. They are are staying home more often than they were; those working from home need more space, as well as kids who have online classes.
Into the Future
Moving into the new year, economist are predicting the housing market to continue to rise. But interest rates are also going to continue to rise, which may help even out the market and result in an increase in listings.
As we continue to see how the Corona virus affects the housing market, my advice to home buyers and sellers is to list your home and continue your search. Affordability may become an issue in the future. But, with this pandemic, the future has not been easy to predict!