If you were considering putting your home up for sale in time for the 2020 spring market you could be forgiven for deciding that this was just not your year. For sellers in markets across the country, the ensuing shutdowns put a damper on their plans, causing them to delay listing their homes for the foreseeable future. Now, however, the real estate market has held steady and many new listings stay on the market for just a few days or, in some cases, hours.
Here are just a few of the reasons that there has really never been a better time to put your home on the market in order to take advantage of this unique opportunity.
Even before the first days of 2020 and the COVID-related shutdowns that followed, record low inventory was being anticipated in markets all over the country. In fact, for years now municipalities have been struggling with housing shortages. Tight markets have been driving up prices, making it difficult for first-time homebuyers and lower-income buyers to find a starter home. The advent of COVID put those shortages into overdrive.
In a variety of markets, low inventory has become the norm, leading to multiple offer situations and frustrated buyers willing to pay well over asking price in order to secure a home in their chosen community. This issue hasn’t been limited to the most desirable in-town luxury buildings and neighborhoods, either. As more homeowners seek larger homes and outdoor spaces to ride out COVID-enforced shutdowns, even suburban and rural markets are seeing a boost in both prices and demand.
During the prime spring weekends normally devoted to open houses and home tours, hopeful buyers were stuck in quarantine looking at online listing portals and hoping to find “the one” perfect home through a virtual tour. There’s a lot of pent-up demand for the few homes on the market, so now is the time to give those buyers something new to look at. Buyers who are out and about in this market are generally motivated to buy, not looky-loos just passing the time at an open house.
If you’ve been reluctant to put your home on the market because of the hassle of in-person meetings and endless papers to sign, you’re in luck. COVID-related social distancing measures have led to an increase in the adoption of tech platforms for agents and brokers in markets both large and small. Digital data management and user-friendly policies mean that your real estate agent can work with you on your terms and timing, making the home sale process more convenient than ever.
Streamlined virtual marketing
Gone are the days of keeping your home pristine for weeks or even months just in case a buyer stops by. With virtual marketing platforms, virtual open houses, and virtual tours you can plan better and enjoy a more convenient sales process. Video tours, professional photography, and 3D walkthroughs mean you no longer have to deal with the intrusion of Sunday afternoon open houses or late night “we were in the neighborhood and wanted to stop by” phone calls.
Low interest rates
One of the first steps the federal government took to combat the projected economic impact of COVID-related shutdowns was to drop interest rates to historically low levels. While it took a while for lenders to catch up with demand, they are now facilitating loans that are so favorable they make home buying irresistible. If you’ve been thinking about upgrading to a larger property or a new area, you’ll not only enjoy the benefit of increased buyer demand; you’ll also lock in those low interest rates for yourself.
Higher home prices
Low inventory, increased demand, and multiple-offer scenarios are driving up home prices in markets all over the country. In communities of all types, home prices are at peaks not seen since the early 2000s. If you’ve been holding out on selling your home because you were waiting for it to reach its maximum value, this might be a good time for you to talk to your real estate agent about recent comparable sales in your area.
Changing buyer priorities
For years we’ve seen some markets winning out over others. Pundits have repeatedly announced the death of suburban enclaves and luxury communities, for example, while in town and exurban neighborhoods experienced explosive growth. Now, however, buyers are leaving the cities and looking for homes with more land, more space, and more options. That means growth in both suburban and rural markets and in undervalued estate homes.
Much of the early pessimism around the housing market in March was caused by a false equivalency between economic recessions and drops in home prices. This was based on memories of the 2008 mortgage meltdown. However, according to economists, that downturn was an anomaly. In most recessions, home prices hold steady or even rise as investors flee the stock market and put their dollars into bricks and mortar. True to form, the weakening in the US economy was balanced by a strengthening of the housing sector and enthusiastic buyers continue to buy.
As a variety of major corporations instituted work-from-home policies permanently, employees who were used to spending twelve-plus hours a day commuting and working in offices found themselves trying to maintain their professionalism alongside a working spouse and a number of homeschooled children. This is creating demand for more space so that each member of the family can fulfill their obligations while also enjoying a little privacy.
Homes with space for multiple home offices, makeshift classrooms, and additional living spaces are popular. In addition, as camps and sports teams shut down for the duration, many families are finding that a larger backyard or recreational options like a private pool have become their new necessities.