Ok, so homes sales fell by 17.8% last moths, as compared to March. BUT, the good news is that prices went up by 7.8%, hence even though the sales were slower the priuceds remained robust. SO, don’t believe the hype about homes not selling.
4.33 million homes sold last month as compared to 21019 where 5.23 million homes sold, again a decline of 17.2%. The lockdowns we had in March and April obviously disrupted the showings of homes, but the homes that were on the market were still attracting buyers. See, when I told you don’t take your home off the market–this is the reason why.
Now that there are RECORD LOW mortgage rates, I don’t see a downside coming on for home sellers in the future. We still have a problem though, there’s still a shortage of homes on the market, we’ll either have to get more homes listed or more homes built.
Again SELLERS, let’s get those homes on the market!
Acknowledging the many unknowns in relation to the COVID-19 virus, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, sounded cautious optimism about where the economy is heading and highlighted positive indicators in the residential real estate market at the Residential Economic Issues and Trends Forum on May 13 at the 2020 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. Yun predicted that steady and even rising home prices could point toward healthy home sales numbers once the economy reopens, and he saw signs that jobs could also rebound as stay-at-home orders ease.
Consumer Spending Down but Home and Garden a Bright Spot
Despite a decline in GDP, consumer spending, and business spending in the first quarter of 2020, Yun noted that residential investment, which includes home building, home sales, and remodeling, was actually up by 21% during the first three months—an indication, he said, of how strong the housing market was before the pandemic.
He also drew attention to the fact that personal income was up by 2% and personal savings jumped a remarkable 152%, related to curtailed household spending as the pandemic spread. Yun was hesitant to gauge the mindset of savers but offered more than one interpretation. “Are they waiting for the economy to reopen?” he said. “Or does it imply pessimism? There is certainly more money available.”
Noting that spending at grocery stores had predictably gone up in March while spending at restaurants had declined, Yun noted that restaurant spending had improved slightly in the last few weeks, showing a decline of just 60% to 70% from the same period last year as some restaurants found ways to continue serving customers by engaging in social distancing measures and offering takeout service.
And while clothing stores, sporting and hobby stores, and department stores all saw steep declines in consumer retail spending over the same period a year ago, building materials and gardening spending actually increased by 10.4%, a hopeful indicator. “People are upgrading their homes,” Yun said. “When the market reopens, that housing will go up in value. People are remodeling, working on lawn care. All things you do to sell a home.”
Jobs Rebound Possible in Education and Health
As grim as the unemployment numbers have been, Yun was encouraged by recent data. As of May 2, a reported 26 million people were jobless, in contrast to the high of 33 million who filed claims earlier in the lockdown. Yun inferred from the numbers that some people received unemployment checks for a few weeks and then got back to work, possibly in jobs in high-demand essential fields. He also said that it was important to watch for trends like these as a harbinger of improvement. “Even in good years people file (for unemployment),” he said. “We are looking for a flattening of the curve. When 1 million jobs are created in a week and less than 1 million file for unemployment, we will know the economy is turning for the better.”
Yun also noted that the biggest job losses in April were found in leisure and hospitality (7.6 million) and in education and health (2.5 million). However, he saw potential for the latter category to rebound quickly once the economy reopens. “I expect [education and health] to turn positive. People will need daycare. Hip replacement, knee surgery will be done again. These loses could be temporary.”
Home Prices and Sales
In addition to positive prognostications on the job front, Yun saw reason to be optimistic on the potential for home sales once the economy picks up steam. Of particular note were home prices, which he said were strong. “There is no meaningful downward trend,” he said. “If anything, they appear to be rising.”
Yun pointed to the current housing shortage as the source of the stable prices, and he predicted that the shortage could grow even more severe given that the usual spring increase in listings didn’t occur this year. He suggested that as the economy reopens, people will be ready to list. He noted that Georgia, which is beginning to reopen, could be a model for what we will see in the rest of the country as restrictions ease. “Listings are popping out,” Yun said, “and buyers are quickly grabbing homes.”
He added further that healthy home sales are possible even when the job market is uncertain. “Even in high unemployment times,” he said, “60 to 70 percent have employment. And we have record-low mortgage rates. The situation could be good.”
by Jay Thompson May 06, 2020 Share this story via email From: To:
Ever started the homebuying process in the middle of a worldwide pandemic? I mean, why not? Stock markets across the planet are cratering. No wait, they’re headed back up. Oops, nevermind, crashing again. Tens of millions have filed for unemployment. No one knows when the lockdowns will really end.
Only an idiot would buy now, right?
Well, call me “idiot.” And I am not alone. Despite the trials and tribulations our current situation presents, life goes on. Just like in the ’80s, when 15 percent was a good mortgage rate, people still want and need to buy and sell real estate — a good thing when one sells real estate for a living.
A couple of weeks ago, Inman reporter Andrea Brambila penned on op-ed on her experiences as a first-time homebuyer. If you haven’t read it, go now. Understanding the perspective of your potential and actual clients is an important part of providing great service.
I’d like to give you a different perspective. I’ve bought several homes over the course of my 59 years and was a part of the buying and selling process for hundreds of transactions. My experiences are different from a first-time buyer like Brambila. Hopefully, what I’ve been through so far will be enlightening, and I’m happy to share this journey all along the way in some future columns.
Deciding to buy
At some mystical point in the space-time continuum, a person decides to buy a home. I’m not sure anyone can pinpoint a specific moment when the lights come on, and suddenly you find yourself a homebuyer.
My wife and I sort of eased into it. We married in Austin, Texas, and honeymooned on the Texas Gulf Coast. Sometime not long after that honeymoon, now almost three decades past, we first started talking about retiring on the Texas coast. Even after retiring to the Seattle area around 18 months ago, thoughts of Texas came out frequently. Non-Texans won’t understand, but Texans know the call of home.
So somewhere around two months ago, the idle chatter about having a second home in Texas flipped from a casual topic of conversation to active discussion. Active to the point of actually writing down the pros and cons of such a maneuver, calling our previous mortgage lender, and looking into what we could afford.
The coronavirus pandemic was really just getting rolling, I don’t think any of us really grasped how much would change as the pandemic progressed. To be honest, we didn’t really care what the pandemic had to say about it.
Oh there was little question that how we would go about buying a home was subject to change. But we aren’t the types to let something like this shut down our lives. We wanted to buy, we are fortunately able to do so, and we’ll charge ahead and figure out the details later.
Decision made. Next, we needed an agent.
On finding an agent
I’m very fortunate to know many amazing real estate agents all over the country, but I know none in the small Texas coastal towns we’re considering. No one I know even lives in the area. So I did what many people looking for an agent do — I went online.
Given my history with Zillow, you can probably guess where I went first. I went straight to Zillow’s directory and started looking at reviews.
Look, I fully understand that not all agents have a Zillow profile. I know there are other sites with info on local agents, and I checked some of those as well. But I’m used to the Zillow interface, I trust its review-vetting process (no, it isn’t perfect, as none are), and I’ve used it. So do a lot of consumers. If you don’t have a profile on every major real estate site, you should.
When looking at profiles and reviews, I couldn’t care less if an agent advertises with Zillow. I read the “About Me” section, and I read reviews. I found three agents who looked solid and sent them all an email, briefly explaining what we were looking and qualified for.
Then I waited.
Despite what you hear about so many consumers expecting instant response, I don’t think that’s a reasonable expectation, especially given the madness we’re living in today.
To these agents, I was some guy emailing them cold and claiming to be ready to buy. They should look at emails like that with some skepticism.
They should also answer that email at some point.
I sent those three emails a month ago. Two have yet to reply. Guess which agent we’re working with? (No, I’m not going to name names yet. I’d like the opportunity to actually meet before I put a name in a national publication.)
The agent who responded did so within two hours and has quickly responded to every other email sent. Not always in five minutes, because people have lives, but this agent responds and answers my questions. We’re looking forward to working together.
Searching for listings
Now comes the fun part — searching for homes! Fun that is, until the frustration sets in. That takes about 15 minutes.
When I look at listings meeting my search criteria, the first thing I look at is the main image. Let me tell you, some of you need to spring for professional photography.
I’m sitting 2,300 miles away from where I’m considering buying. Your photos are about all I have to go on. For the love of every kitten on the internet, please make your listing photos the best you can. For the vast majority of you, that means hiring a professional.
And please, stop with the attitude of, “I’m going to leave things out of my photos to encourage in-person showings.” You know what I do with the listings with lousy and missing photos? I remove them from my potential list. Where I’m looking, inventory is not an issue. You don’t want buyers eliminating your listing because your photos suck.
As somewhat experienced real estate buyers, my wife and I have a good idea of what we want and don’t want in a home.
When we move to Texas, I plan to spend a significant amount of time in the back bays, slaying redfish and speckled trout. To that end, I need easy access to the water. Ideally, a home on the water with a boat dock.
Seems like checking “waterfront” in my searches should help, right? Then why are some listings miles inland showing up as waterfront properties? It could be mapping issues on the part of the websites. But there are also too many agents checking the “waterfront” box when entering listings. Why?
Something that has surprised me is how much attention I pay to listing descriptions. I can roll my eyes and get past the obvious marketing-speak and find little nuggets, like if the master is upstairs or down, when the deck or roof was replaced, how “hurricane proof” a home is. Use the listing description to describe what the photos can’t show.
The COVID unknown
We live in interesting times. None of us have ever lived through something like this. Well, unless you’re in the 110-year-old range and remember the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic.
My bet is none of the survivors of that time are reading this column. Your clients and prospects are in new waters, right along with you. The wife and I are ready to get on a plane and go look at homes. The pandemic has brought that to a grinding halt. Like everyone, we do what we can do. We work through this and figure it out as we go.
Someday, I don’t know when, we’ll be able to venture out, travel to Texas and keep this sometimes-daunting homebuying process moving along.
Experienced, but nervous
As previously mentioned, I’ve bought several homes. Sold many more. I’ve been on NAR committees and spoken about the real estate market literally across the world. I owned a real estate brokerage and worked for almost seven years at the largest real estate website on the planet. I’m pretty well-versed in how real estate works.
Despite all that experience, this process is daunting and scary, and it makes me nervous. Honestly, I can’t imagine what first-time buyers (or sellers) go through. I knew what questions to ask in emails to prospective agents. I knew what the answers probably should be. How does someone without all this real estate experience get through something like this?
The answer is you. They get through it with your help. Your guidance. Your knowledge and experience. You play a critical role in helping people with a major financial event. They’re nervous, possibly terrified. Help them. Speak in words they understand. Don’t assume anything. Remember what it’s like to be a buyer or seller.
Buying a home shouldn’t be this hard. We probably need Brad Inman’s latte vision, but there are some things that will never be replaced in this process, and one of those things is you, the real estate agent.
Sure, I could put an offer in sight-unseen. I could have our agent go do video walk-throughs. I could even hire an inspector to make sure the place is solid.
But I’m not about to buy a home I plan to live in for a significant chunk of the year without seeing it, touching it and smelling it. So until tech reaches the point where I can beam into a home to view it, we’re going to need real estate professionals to help us through this process. Be that professional.
I’m looking forward to sharing more of this adventure as it unfolds. Entering the homebuying space has certainly opened my eyes, and maybe my experiences can help you be a better agent.
I saw this article recently and knew you guys would definitely find it helpful. Give me a call!
Homeowners seeking a premium when selling their home should eye the months of May and June, a new analysis from ATTOM Data Solutions shows. The study is based on 33 million single-family home and condo sales between 2011 to 2019; it does not take into account the effect of the current COVID-19 pandemic on home sales this spring or summer.
Over the nine-year period in the study, home sellers typically find that warmer months offered the best times to sell, with an average boost 9.6% above market value in June and 8.3% higher in May. The five best days to sell, all with a 10% seller premium, according to the study, are June 22, June 21, June 29, June 20, and June 15.
“Timing the housing market is far from an exact science,” says Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. But in general, sellers have seen the highest prices in late spring and early summer, he adds.
“This year could be a striking exception if many potential home buyers stay home because of coronavirus social distancing or worries about job security,” Teta notes.
Sales price data stretching over nearly a decade shows that transactions completed in May, June, and July typically net 7% to 10% over market value, he adds. That amounts to about $17,000 to $25,000 on a typical home nationwide.
Auctions are no longer solely for banks, foreclosures and short sales. The business has changed in the rcent years. It used to be that auctions were for properties which were unique or may on the high end.
In recent years, the average auction home has a price come down to around $2,000,000 which isn’t that high, I know it’s easy for me to say, it’s not my $2,000,000 : ). But it is a different way to sell a home WITHOUT having to pay a commission, constantly be inconvenienced by people coming thru your lovely home to view it, oh and did I mention AS A SELLER YOU DO NOT PAY ANY COMMISSION!
What most people don’t realize is that by using the auction strategy you will get true market value for your home, everything is done online, another thing a lot of people don’t realize is that at the end of the auction if you didn’t realize the price which you expected then you DO NOT have to sell the home. In layman’s term it’s like when you bid for an item on eBay and you don’t hit the reserve the item remains unsold. If you don’t understand what I am referring to please give me a call and I’ll explain it to you thoroughly.
‘Auction houses work hand-in-hand with the seller and their agent to give the property the best chance of success. Psychologically, by creating a date on which the property will sell, an auction takes an edge away from buyers and gives it to the seller. This approach can result in more than two participants leading to the coveted “bidding war.” Let’s face it, few people possess an ego immune to not wanting to lose an auction once they begin bidding.’
This may the norm once this economic lockdown is over, we will see sellers that may have not have listed their home due to the pandemic put their home on the market and want to sell it quickly!
I was thinking about this a couple days ago. I am a Realtor in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. This is the time of year I look forward to as do most Realtors, we can make more than earn almost 75% of their income in the next 6 months! Most agents who aren’t FULLY COMMITTED won’t see a paycheck for the next 3-4 months!
I thought this may be a boon for us Realtors that ARE FULLY COMMITTED! Here’s what I see as a ‘positive’ if you’re in the market to buy a home.
Realtors with less experience won’t be in the marketplace any longer, in Arlington County, we average 269 transactions for the last year. Each transaction has a buyer side and a seller side, which means a potential for 538 paychecks for agents each month–REMEMBER THIS IS JUST FOR ARLINGTON COUNTY.
More than 3/4 of the agents in our in our association may do 1 or 2 transactions a year. It is relatively easy to get a Real Estate license in most areas and everyone seems to give it a try, there’s a great chance you may get an inexperienced agent due to the market being so busy.
Realtors have an 87% chance of failure in their first year. It’s likely that many of those agent will fall to the wayside now, which will increase the level of service.
2. Home price increases may slow down. The average home price in Northern Virginia has increased markedly over the last several years. If your home appreciates at a 3-4% pace each year you’re doing WELL; still better than being in a savings account! BUT, when prices are increasin 10-15% each year that’s tough to keep up with.
Many of my clients are middle class and they sometimes end up spending 40% of their income on their mortgage, sometimes on a home that they may only marginally like!
The norm in Northern Virginia is 5-10 offers on a property usually in the first few days. This is very frustrating for first time home buyers (of which many of my clients are). When I reach out to my buyers that have stepped back a little, they are hoping for price drops, they just can’t keep up with this 10-15% appreciation this year.
People are out of work right now, there will be fewer people out there looking to buy, hence prices should level off. This great for those buyers who are ready, they can go in and take advantage of this! Supply will increase and demand will decrease, which will lead prices to go down!
3. Listing and closing processes will. be more streamlined. Sometimes it take a massive upheaval in the market to spur change, Agents will see that they have to go beyond basic pictures for their listings. Virtual tour and #D photo shoots will become more of the norm.
Title companies have been streamlining their processes also, there are mobile closings where you don’t even get out of your car, online notaries, digital signatures, etc.
As we come out of this epidemic we will see many improvements in all areas of the home buying and home selling process.
Here is a state by state guide to let you know when what is reopening. It is in alphabetical order. YOU’RE WELCOME!
State-by-state guide to reopening the economy
As the coronavirus pandemic gradually improves, a patchwork of plans to reopen local economies has emerged across the USJosef F. Stuefer, CSA Images and Getty Images. Design by Jim Dalrymple IIBY JIM DALRYMPLE II | Today 6:54 A.M.
The crisis is still very much ongoing, but as the curve begins to flatten officials and consumers are now looking at what a reopened economy looks like. And at this point, it looks like a vast, complicated patchwork in which every state is pursuing reopening in a slightly different way.
To makes sense of what’s going on, Inman has summarized the reopening process from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Scroll down to find your state, but also know that the situation is fluid and restrictions are changing quickly. We’ll do our best to keep this list current, but also let us know if your state needs updating.
It’s also worth mentioning that we’ve noted if states designated real estate as “essential” or not. This matters because it speaks to how much reopening will impact agents. In states without essential designations, agents may be dependent on the wrapping up of broader isolation mandates in order to conduct basic business activities. In states that designated real estate essential, on the other hand, agents generally had more freedom during the pandemic, though reopening should give them additional flexibility as well.
Alabama’s stay-at-home order expired on April 30 and was replaced with a “safer at home” rule that runs through May 15. Under the new rule, most businesses are allowed to reopen as long as they adhere to social distancing requirements. Restaurants, however, are still limited to curbside takeout. Gyms, entertainment venues, barbers and a handful of other businesses will also have to remain closed for the time being.
Real estate was deemed an essential business in Alabama, meaning agents could proceed with activities such as showings during the pandemic. However, the Alabama Association of Realtors has discouraged holding open houses, and advised industry professionals to take other precautions.
Businesses in Alaska began reopening on April 24. The reopenings included limited operations for restaurants and retail establishments, among other things, and were part of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s multi-phase plan to spool up the economy. Officials have a tentative deadline of May 8 for the next reopening phase, though it isn’t yet clear what that phase may involve. Dunleavy has also suggested the deadline could move depending on how the outbreak progresses in the coming days.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said on April 29 that restaurants and other businesses will have to remain closed for the time being and will likely open at the earliest on May 12.
Ducey has also said that elective surgeries could resume beginning May 1.
Arizona included real estate among its essential services.
Arkansas did not implement a statewide stay-at-home order, but did impose various other social isolation restrictions that included closing non-essential businesses. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on April 29 that restaurants will be allowed to reopen with limited capacity on May 11.
Real estate showings have been allowed to continue through the pandemic in Arkansas.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order does not have an expiration date. However, on April 28 Newsom and other officials unveiled a phased reopening plan and said that the state is “weeks, not months, away from making meaningful modifications” to ongoing restrictions. The state is currently in the first phase of its reopening plan. The second phase will include more relaxed rules for businesses such as restaurants and retail stores. However, there is no firm timeline as to when California may enter the second phase of the plan.
Subsequent stages of California’s plan would allow movie theaters and concert venues to reopen but, again, there is no firm deadline for those stages.
California’s beaches have seen a mix of closures and openings. During a heatwave over the final weekend of April, beaches in the Los Angeles area were generally closed. However, beaches in nearby Orange County were open and ended up seeing a massive influx of people.
Real estate is considered an essential service in California. However, some local officials imposed additional restrictions; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, for example, has mandated that showings take place remotely. The California Association of Realtors has also said that agents should not do open houses and that “showings should be done virtually, if at all possible.”
It was not immediately clear at the end of April when such rules might be lifted.
Migrant farm laborers have their temperature checked on April 28, 2020 in King City, California. Credit: Brent Stirton and Getty Images
Colorado’s stay-at-home order ended April 26, after which the state entered what it calls a “safer-at-home” phase of economic reopening. Under the new rules, non-essential businesses can reopen for curbside activity and residents are encouraged, but not required, to stay in their houses. The new phase also allows in-person, one-on-one real estate showings — which had been banned under previous orders.
In practice, in-person showings will only resume in a handful of counties in the southern part of the state. In other counties, including Denver, local isolation orders have been extended and still prohibit in-person showings.
Colorado will allow retail businesses to reopen on May 1. “Non-critical offices” can reopen on May 4.
Real estate is considered an essential service in Colorado, though obviously there are restrictions.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s stay-at-home order extends through May 20. On April 30, Lamont outlined a four-stage reopening process that will begin once the order ends. The first stage of the plan will allow the reopening of stores, offices and outdoor restaurant areas. Dates for each of the stages are not fixed, but it could reportedly take up to 10 months to reach the final step in the process.
Real estate was designated an essential business in Connecticut. The state’s Realtor association has urged industry professionals to take various safety precautions such as limiting showings.
Delaware’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to last until May 15, “or until the public health threat is eliminated.” Gov. John Carney has said that it will take 28 days of declining coronavirus cases to reopen the state’s economy.
Delaware did not designate real estate an essential service, and Carney’s order required offices to shut down. Open houses were also banned. However, while real estate professionals are encouraged to avoid in-person contact, they can continue showings and in-person meetings when necessary and while practicing social distancing protocols.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order April 1, and the order expired on April 30. Beginning May 4, restaurants and retail businesses in most of the state can reopen, but only with limited capacity. Patrons will also be required to social distance.
Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties — which represent both the state’s most populous area and the the locations of most coronavirus cases — are excluded from the reopening orders and businesses there will have to remain closed.
Real estate is considered an essential service in Florida.
Players wearing face masks warm up at the Miami Beach Golf Club on April 29. Credit: Cliff Hawkins and Getty Images
Georgia has been among the most aggressive states for reopening the economy. Gov. Brian Kemp allowed gyms, bowling alleys, barbers and a variety of other businesses to reopen on April 24. Movie theaters and dine-in restaurants were allowed to reopen on April 27. Restaurants that are welcoming customers to sit down have to follow a set of guidelines for social distancing.
Georgia considered real estate an essential service, and agents in the state told Inman that they had continued showings during the pandemic, albeit while taking safety precautions.
On April 25, Hawaii Gov. David Ige extended his stay-at-home order to May 31. The order requires mandatory two-week quarantining for travelers.
On April 29, Ige said that businesses such as golf courses and car washes that require limited social interaction will be allowed to reopen on April 30. Florists were also allowed to resume deliveries on May 1. Additionally, Ige has said people can run, jog, walk and surf at beaches as long as they maintain social distance. Ige hasn’t laid out a timeline for reopening businesses such as restaurants that require greater interaction.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s “order to self-isolate” expired April 30. Little has outlined a multi-stage plan for reopening the economy. The first phase could begin between May 1 and May 15, though the state has to meet a specific set of public health criteria first. Even then, restrictions such as limiting restaurants to curbside service and keeping gyms closed will remain in place.
The plan currently envisions restaurants and other businesses opening, with restrictions, during “stage 2.” Idaho could reach stage 2 sometime between May 16 and 29, according to the plan, but again only if it meets certain criteria regarding the outbreak.
Idaho has designated the sale and transfer of real estate an essential service.
Illinois has had a stay-at-home order in place since March 21, but in late April Gov. J.B. Pritzker extended the order until May 30. However, the new extended order does allow use of state parks, extends essential service designations to greenhouses and garden centers, and allows retail stores to open for online orders or pickups.
Pritzker has said he hopes for a wider economic reopening by June.
Real estate has been considered an essential business in Illinois during the pandemic, though the state’s Realtor association has noted “that social distancing and preventive measures are essentially mandated.”
Amtrak police patrol the mostly-shuttered food court inside of Union Station on April 28 in Chicago. Credit: Scott Olson and Getty Images
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has indicated a gradual reopening of the economy could begin May 1, when the state’s stay-at-home order expires. Details about the reopening are expected in the coming days, but Holcomb has already been reaching out to the business community to discuss safety precautions.
Simon Property Group has said it plans to reopen 10 malls it operates in the state between May 1 and May 4.
Real estate is considered an essential service in Indiana.
Gov. Kim Reynolds’ state of emergency order closed non-essential businesses but did not require Iowans to stay at home. On April 27, Reynolds announced that businesses such as restaurants, gyms and malls in most counties could reopen on May 1. Reopened businesses will have to follow various social distancing rules.
A handful of counties will see restrictions remain in place until at least May 15.
Iowa’s emergency orders do not appear to have singled out real estate as an essential or non-essential service. However, real estate agents in the state have reportedly continued practicing.
Kansas’ stay-at-home order was originally set to expire on April 19, but was later extended until May 3. Gov. Laura Kelly is expected to provide information on less restrictive rules in the coming days. The rules should allow for some public gatherings in which social distancing is still possible, though full details on the plan are still forthcoming.
Real estate is considered an essential business in Kansas.
Kentucky began reopening on April 27 when it started allowing some non-essential medical procedures. Gov. Andy Beshear expects the state to embark on a four-week process of gradually rolling back isolation rules beginning May 11, though details on how that process will look are still forthcoming.
Beshear has indicated bars may not open until June.
The Kentucky Derby, which normally takes place in early May, has been postponed until September.
Kentucky has designated real estate an essential service. Industry professionals are supposed to adhere to social distancing requirements.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has extended his state’s stay-at-home order until May 15. Business activity such as nail salons and limited restaurant dine-in service is expected to resume after the order ends, though the state will have to meet a set of outbreak mitigation criteria first. Edwards is expected to provide details about reopening May 11.
Protestors outside the Louisiana state capitol during a rally against Louisiana’s stay-at-home order and economic shutdown on April 25 in Baton Rouge. Credit: Chris Graythen and Getty Images
Maine’s state of emergency goes through May 31. However, Gov. Janet Mills has also unveiled a four-stage reopening plan. The first stage will allow barber shops, pet grooming businesses and car dealerships to reopen beginning May 1, though large public gatherings and other activities will still be prohibited.
The second stage of the plan should allow restaurants, gyms, retail stores and other businesses to reopen. Mills anticipates moving to that stage of the plan in June.
Real estate is considered an essential business in Maine.
As is the case in other states, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has a multi-stage plan for reopening the local economy. The plan does not include specific dates, though Hogan has reportedly said he wants to reopen “rapidly, but not recklessly.”
The first stage of the plan would see small retail shops reopen, the return of elective medical procedures, and allow limited outdoor gym and religious activity. Stage two would involve limited reopening of restaurants, and stage three would see the state permit large social gatherings.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency order requires non-essential businesses to remain closed until May 18. On April 28, Baker expressed sympathy for those hard-hit by the crisis, but did not provide a date for when businesses in the state might be able to resume something resembling normal activity.
Michigan’s stay-at-home order currently extends through May 15, though some businesses that involve outdoor activities have already reopened. Overall, the state is taking a regional approach that will allow certain areas to open up after meeting various benchmarks. There are no firm dates on when businesses generally will resume operations, though Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to let the construction industry resume activity in early May.
Real estate workers in Michigan are not considered essential workers. According to the state, that means they cannot leave their homes for work unless they are providing “food, shelter, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz allowed various businesses with industrial, manufacturing or office operations to resume work on April 27. The move allowed between 80,000 and 100,000 people to return to work, according to the governor’s statement on the move. Reopened businesses have to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
However, the state’s stay-at-home order remains in effect through May 4. It was not clear at the end of April when other businesses, such as restaurants, would be able to resume normal operations. Walz said in his statement that officials are considering “ways to gradually loosen restrictions starting with settings most conducive to safe practices.”
Minnesota considers real estate an essential service.
Real estate is designated an essential service in Mississippi.
Planes belonging to Delta Air Lines sit idle at Kansas City International Airport on April 3 in Kansas City, Missouri. Credit: Jamie Squire and Getty Images
Missouri’s stay-at-home order expires on May 4, at which time all businesses will be allowed to reopen as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. That includes restaurants and other businesses. Social gatherings will also be allowed as long as participants practice social distancing.
Local officials do have the option to impose their own stay-at-home orders, and in St. Louis and Kansas City such orders have been extended to mid May.
Montana ended its stay-at-home order April 26 and retail businesses were allow to open the next day. Restaurants, bars, casinos and other similar businesses can resume operations on May 4, though they cannot remain open later than 11:30 p.m. However, businesses are also still encouraged to have employees work from home where possible.
Businesses such as gyms and theaters remain closed and there is not a set date for when they’ll be allowed to reopen.
Gov. Steve Bullock has designated real estate an essential service.
Nebraska will begin loosening restrictions on May 4. The new rules will allow restaurants and other businesses such as barber shops in a majority of counties to reopen, albeit with various capacity limits. Bars, movie theaters and some other businesses will have to remain closed until May 31.
State officials have said they cannot regulate which real estate activities happen during the pandemic, and the industry has not been designated either essential or non-essential. However, officials have also urged members of the industry to be “cognizant of the situation.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said on April 29 that he plans to extend his stay-at-home order beyond its April 30 expiration date, though he did not immediately say how long the extension might last. Sisolak has loosened rules regarding medical procedures, but there is no set reopening date for businesses such as restaurants and entertainment venues.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman garnered attention in mid April over her calls for the reopening of casinos. However, Sisolak said on April 29 that casinos may not reopen until the third or fourth phase of the state’s reopening plan. Additional details are expected in the coming days.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s stay-at-home order extends through May 4. Sununu has said that he will release details about his reopening plan at the beginning of May. A task force has been studying how to reopen, but as of the final days of April the state had not provided specific dates for the reopening of retail and service-oriented businesses.
New Hampshire has designated real estate an essential service.
New Jersey will reopen parks and golf courses on May 2. However, Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home order otherwise remains in effect until further notice and without an expiration date. There is no set deadline for a broader reopening of the economy. Instead, the state has set public health benchmarks it wants to hit before returning the economy to normal.
Murphy has said, though, that he expects reopening to begin within weeks, not months.
He also designated real estate an essential business in his state, though agents do face restrictions such as not being allowed to hold open houses.
New Mexico has designated real estate an essential service.
The pandemic hit New York harder than any other state. As a result, non-essential businesses in the state have been ordered to stay closed until May 15.
On April 28, Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided initial details on a phased reopening in the state. The first phase, which could begin as early as mid May, will let lower-risk businesses in industries such as construction and manufacturing resume operations. The second phase of the plan should allow businesses “considered ‘more essential’ with inherent low risks of infection” to reopen. However, the plan does not spell out what specific businesses that might entail or when the state might enter its second reopening phase.
The plan also does not mention when service industry businesses will be able to resume operations. Moreover, there is reportedly no set date for the reopening of parks and beaches.
New York is also taking a regional approach that requires certain parts of the state to meet health benchmarks regarding things such as testing.
Real estate’s status in New York during the pandemic has also been the subject of some confusion. The state initially didn’t include the industry as an essential service, then provided updated guidance saying that activities such as home showings could continue. But soon thereafter, the state clarified that showings should only take place virtually. Ultimately, some specific real estate activities such as appraisals are considered essential and are allowed to continue during the pandemic, according to the New York State Association of Realtors.
Passengers wearing protective gear ride the New York City subway on April 28. Credit: Jeenah Moon and Getty Images
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has issued a stay-at-home order that extends through May 8. Afterward, Cooper plans to “lift restrictions in three phases once the data show that key metrics are headed in the right direction,” according to a statement. Progress through those stages will depend on testing, tracing and trends the outbreak exhibits. Though there are no dates yet associated with the plan, the first phase could see some retail businesses reopen. The second phase should come two to three weeks later and would involved limited reopenings of restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses.
The final phase would take place four to six weeks after the second phase begins.
North Dakota does not have a sweeping stay-at-home order like other states, though it has required the closure of restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses. That changes on May 1, however, when most businesses in the state will be allowed to reopen. Those businesses that do reopen will have to follow social distancing guidelines and capacity limits laid out in the state’s “ND Smart Restart” plan for firing up the economy.
North Dakota did not single out real estate for a designation as either essential or non-essential, meaning that agents could continue practicing during the pandemic.
Reopening in Ohio will begin on May 1 when the state eases restrictions on medical procedures. Construction, manufacturing and offices will be allowed to resume operations on May 4, followed by retail and service businesses on May 12. Any businesses that reopen will have to follow various safety guidelines meant to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
Restaurants, barbers and schools will all remain closed for the time being. Two advisory groups are currently studying when such entities should reopen.
Oklahoma considers real estate an essential service.
Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order shutting down businesses and requiring Oregonians to stay at home does not have an expiration date. Brown revealed a “framework for reopening” in mid April, but so far the state has not committed to any specific dates.
A handful of counties spent the final days of April urging Brown to let them open non-essential businesses.
Real estate was not mentioned on Brown’s lists of either allowed or disallowed activities during the pandemic.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has set a target of May 8 for his state to begin reopening. The state also anticipates gradually reopening certain counties and regions before loosening restrictions across the entire state.
Wolf’s plan will only see restaurants and bars reopen during the third and final phase of the plan, though retail activity could return during the second phase. Either way, though, there are no set dates for when those phases will begin.
However, some local officials have said they will begin the first steps toward reopening the economies in their cities as soon as May 1.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced a reopening plan on April 27. The plan may begin as early as May 9 — one day after the state’s stay-at-home order expires — and will initially allow small social gatherings and some limited restaurant activity beyond takeout and delivery service. The second phase of the plan will allow more restaurants to open, as well as resumed operations for retail businesses and salons. Offices and more businesses will be able to reopen during the third phase of the plan.
However, the state has not said when the second and third phases of the plan might begin.
Raimondo did not single out real estate as either essential or non-essential. The Rhode Island Association of Realtors has urged agents not to hold in-person open houses, and industry professionals in the state are required to abide by the general rules that limit gatherings.
An arriving traveller fills out a form for the National Guard at TF Green Airport on March 29 in Warwick, Rhode Island. Credit: Scott Eisen and Getty Images
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster began reopening his state last week when he announced that on April 20 beaches and some retailers would be allowed to reopen. Despite those early steps toward reopening, on April 27 McMaster also extended his state of emergency until May 12. The order extends the state’s stay-at-home mandate and means further reopening efforts will likely have to wait. McMaster has also reportedly said he wants to have the economy “humming” by June.
Real estate was not covered in South Carolina’s emergency orders.
South Dakota did not issue a statewide stay-at-home order and did not require businesses to close. Some businesses did eventually close, but Gov. Kristi Noem unveiled a “back to normal” plan on April 28 that encourages employers to practice safety guidelines while resuming operations. Noem has encouraged both businesses and schools to allow limited gatherings.
Because South Dakota didn’t force businesses to close, real estate was allowed to continue without needing a designation as essential.
Tennessee has been gradually moving back to normal since April 24, when state parks first reopened. Gov. Bill Lee allowed restaurants in most counties to reopen at 50 percent capacity on April 27. Gyms can reopen, also with restrictions, on May 1. The reopenings are part of a multi-phase return to normal in the state.
Real estate is considered an essential service in Tennessee.
Texas will let restaurants, retailers and some other businesses resume operations on May 1, though they will have severely limited capacity. Gov. Greg Abbott has said that looser restrictions could begin on May 18, though that timeline depends on how the outbreak fares in the coming weeks.
Utah never implemented a statewide stay-at-home order, instead opting for a “stay safe, stay home directive” that closed restaurants but merely encouraged individuals to remain indoors. The order is in place through May 1. A number of counties — including Salt Lake, the state’s most populous — also issued their own isolation mandates that shut down businesses and other non-essential activities.
Utah took its first steps toward reopening in mid April when Gov. Gary Herbert reopened state parks. On April 28, Hebert announced that beginning May 1 the state would allow gatherings in small groups. Restaurants will also be allowed to offer dine-in service, though they would have to practice “extreme precaution.”
Real estate is considered essential in Utah, meaning that in-person showings are allowed.
Gov. Phil Scott has issued a state of emergency that is in place until May 15. However, as of April 2o limited activities including home appraisals were allowed to resume. Some construction, manufacturing and outdoor retail was allowed to reopen on April 27. Farmers markets can open May 1.
The state has not said when other commercial activity might be able to resume.
In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order is in effect until June 10. There are no set dates for reopening the state’s economy. Northam has previously said that there must be two weeks of declining cases before Virginia can enter the first phase of its reopening process.
However, on April 29 Northam did announced that elective medical procedures could resume.
According to Virginia Realtors, it was unclear if state mandates considered real estate an essential service. As a result, real estate offices were not required to close, the trade group said, though agents were encouraged to work remotely and practice social distancing.
Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order was set to expire May 4, though he said on April 29 that it will be extended. He did not provide details on the extended order’s expiration date.
Some construction was allowed to resume on April 29, and most state parks in Washington will reopen on May 5. However, the state has not released a reopening timeline for other sectors of the economy.
Bowser ordered real estate offices to “close to all but minimum business operations” during the pandemic. Agents are not allowed to hold open houses, but can show homes to individual buyers. Financial transactions are considered essential.
West Virginia began reopening its economy on April 30. The reopening plan includes a series of stages that are set to take place over a period of six weeks.
The first phase loosens restrictions on medical procedures. The next phase, which should begin during the first week of May, will allow for outdoor dining at restaurants and the reopening of businesses such as salons and pet groomers. Subsequent phases will allow for more openings, though the state has provided fewer details about how that will work. Progression through the phases is also contingent on progress fighting the outbreak.
West Virginia has designated real estate an essential service.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has extended his state’s stay-at-home order until May 26. In the meantime, however, businesses such as pet groomers, lawnmower repair shops, some car washes, vehicle rental companies and others were allowed to resume operations on April 29. However, they were only allowed to reopen if they could provide contactless services.
Golf courses, construction companies and a few other types of business have also been allowed to resume limited operations.
Wyoming does not have a statewide stay-at-home order, though Gov. Mark Gordon did require businesses such as restaurants and bars to close through April 30. Beginning May 1, gyms, barber shops and similar businesses can reopen. Gorden has not said when other types of businesses can resume operations.
Wyoming does not appear to have created a list of essential businesses, which means real estate should be able to continue through the pandemic.
Since the spread of COVID-19, consumers are showing more willingness to purchase a home without stepping foot inside. Twenty-four percent of 1,300 consumers surveyed say they’d be willing to buy a home without seeing it in person, according to a survey conducted this month by realtor.com® and Toluna Insights. Buyers are using listing data, virtual tours, detail photos, and live video walkthroughs with real estate agents as a substitute for visiting the property in person.
But after buying sight unseen, remorse could set in if buyers don’t do their full due diligence. Here’s how real estate professionals can help their buyers move forward confidently with a sight-unseen offer:
Get a sense of the senses. “When you’re house-hunting in person, you’re able to use all of your senses,” Redfin notes at its blog. “You can see the wonderful natural light coming into the living room, you can hear the noisy garage door, and you can smell the pet odors that are still lingering throughout the home. But when you’re buying a house without seeing it, you’re limited to only what is shown digitally.” Real estate pros should be prepared to answer questions regarding the smell of the house (inside and out); noises from the house (including outside, like a train or traffic); whether appliances or any home features look outdated; and the strength of internet and cell phone service.
Show off the neighborhood. Encourage buyers to check out the surroundings. Agents can take buyers on a video tour around the neighborhood or encourage buyers to use Google Maps to virtually walk through the neighborhood and see what surrounding homes look like, as well as get a sense of what is nearby, the Redfin blog notes. Or urge them to sign up for online community groups, such as Nextdoor or Facebook, to get more insights into a neighborhood or community.
Get inspections. Provide contact information for a few reputable, qualified home inspectors in the area. “It’s even more important to have this extra set of eyes from a professional when you aren’t able to see the home in person,” Redfin notes. Buyers may want to seek out additional inspections as well, such as for the pool, radon, or asbestos if the home was built prior to 1980.
Be realistic about a timeline. “Buy a house sight unseen and you’ll likely find yourself navigating the process differently,” Redfin notes. “It’s important to set a realistic timeline with a buffer in case there are any hiccups along the way.” Encourage buyers to prepare all their documents in advance to help in navigating the loan approval process. The loan approval process could take longer nowadays, as could getting any repairs done to the home prior to closing.
I know the picture has nothing to do with the article but thought it was cool. LOL. Anyway, don’t believe the hype, the market hasn’t totally gone away, just corrected itself. Of course buyers have backed off a bit, even hidden away, but the market is still crazy. Even though the south is showing slowing by 17.8% we are still ok! The DMV market is STILL CRAZY, sellers certainly haven’t lowered prices in a panic by any means. Here’s a great article from National Association of Realtors who are supposed to be shilling for us, but this really is the truth.
NAR Calls Sales Slowdown Temporary
April 29, 2020
Contract signings dropped in March as many housing markets paused as the coronavirus outbreak spread across the country.
The National Association of REALTORS®’ Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, dropped 20.8% in March compared to February. All four major regions of the U.S. saw a drop in contract activity last month.
Contract signings are down 16.3% compared to a year ago.
“The housing market is temporarily grappling with the coronavirus-induced shutdown, which pulled down new listing and new contracts,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “As consumers become more accustomed to social distancing protocols, and with the economy slowly and safely reopening, listings and buying activity will resume, especially given the record low mortgage rates.”
Yun acknowledges the typical spring buying season will be missed this year due to the pandemic. Further, a “bounce back later in the year” will likely be insufficient to make up for the loss of sales in the second quarter, he adds. Home sales are projected to decline 14% for the year.
Social distancing protocols due to the pandemic have caused the real estate industry to quickly adapt their businesses. Home buyers are still finding ways to proceed. Fifty-eight percent of real estate professionals report that buyers are using virtual tours, and 43% report buyers are taking advantage of e-closings, according to an NAR Flash Survey conducted of real estate professionals between April 19 and 20.
Also, home prices are staying firm. “Although the pandemic continues to be a major disruption in regards to the timing of home sales, home prices have been holding up well,” Yun says. “In fact, due to the ongoing housing shortage, home prices are likely to squeeze out a gain in 2020 to a new record high.”
Yun projects the national median home price to increase 1.3% for 2020. However, he cautions there will be many local market variations. Also, the upper end of the market will likely face a reduction in home prices.
San Francisco-based firm Noah claims demand is up 600% because of pandemicTRD NATIONAL /April 22, 2020 12:32 PMBy E.B. Solomon
A startup that issues cash loans to homeowners in exchange for an ownership stake has raised $150 million to meet increased demand from cash-strapped owners.
Noah, based in San Francisco, said the money came from unnamed institutional investors, including pension funds.
The funding comes on the heels of the company’s $5 million Series A from Union Square Ventures in September 2019. Other investors include Breega Capital and Techstars Ventures.
In a statement, Noah said it would use the cash infusion to increase its lending power and continue to scale nationwide.
Founded in 2016 as Patch Homes, Noah is one of several alternative-finance startups to pop up in recent years. The company pre-qualifies loans by having homeowners supply their address, credit score and debt balance on the home. It charges $2,000 or 3 percent of the loan amount, whichever is higher, and shares in the home’s future value — whether up or down.
Conceived of as a way to help homeowners access home equity in expensive housing markets, the company said it has seen an uptick during the pandemic from homeowners in need of liquidity.
In recent weeks, Noah said interest in its product spiked, with a 600 percent increase in inquiries through its website. Its data show that 7 percent of homeowners have delayed or paused mortgage payments while they wait for stimulus checks or other financial relief.
Currently, Noah operates in California, Utah, Washington and Colorado. It is targeting Washington, D.C., Virginia, New York and Massachusetts during the second half of the year.ADVERTISEMENT
“We’ve had homeowners come to us when they had nowhere else to turn,” co-founder Sahil Gupta said in a statement. “Amid this state of financial uncertainty, we’re encouraged by our latest capital investment as it strengthens our ability to continue to partner with homeowners and help them access immediate funds.”
Noah also gives investors a foothold in the residential market.
In 2018, investors such as Starwood Capital and Blackstone Group-led Invitation Homes purchased one-fifth of all single-family starter homes, according to CoreLogic. In hot markets, investors purchased nearly 50 percent of starters homes.
That’s fueled investments in companies like Noah and competitors like Unison and Hometap, which raised a $100 million Series B in December. Last year, Point, another home-equity loan startup, raised $122 million.