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Ask Eli: Impact of Coronavirus on the Real Estate Market, Part 3 – ARLnow

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: What has been the impact of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 on the real estate market?

Answer: I hope you are all staying healthy and sane(ish). My wife and I are trying to wrap our heads around school being canceled through the end of the academic year… yay!

Over the last two weeks, my Coronavirus columns (one and two) have included mostly anecdotal evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on the real estate market, but now we’ve been in this for long enough that I can start using market data to measure the true effects. It will be at least a few more weeks before we can measure the effect on prices, but we can look at things like supply, showing activity and contract activity now.

What I’m Seeing/Hearing

This past weekend, most Open Houses were canceled and over the last week showing activity has dropped off dramatically. However, there are still plenty of active, motivated buyers making offers. What I’m seeing/hearing right now in the D.C. Metro market is that competition is down, prices haven’t taken much of a hit (yet), and new listings are still coming onto the market.

Mortgage rates had their most volatile week ever last week as investors basically stopped buying mortgages on the secondary market, but the Fed stepped in and has promised to stabilize the market until our economy (hopefully) returns to normal. Here are two (one and two) good reads on what happened last week to mortgages.

Impact On The D.C. Area Economy

While not real estate specific, I want to share the excellent work of Jeannette Chapman, Director of the Stephen S. Fuller Institute at our very own George Mason University, which takes an in-depth look at how Coronavirus is likely going to impact the D.C. area economy, based on current projections. Notably, they determine that the D.C. area will not be as insulated from this recession as the 2008 financial crisis. Be smart, be careful with your money folks.

While I’m slightly off the topic of real estate, I wanted to share a great website for tracking global and domestic COVID-19 data in real time, with helpful visuals. This website was shared with me by Arlington resident/Mom Elissa David, who owns the Unbroken Body to help Moms heal their bodies after pregnancy. She has temporarily turned her website into a resource for all of us parents who have suddenly become home school teachers!

Now let’s jump into some relevant real estate market data.

Market Data

SUPPLY

The number of new listings this past week in Arlington jumped 27% over the same week last year and 6% over two weeks ago. The D.C. Metro experienced less dramatic increases in new listings, but increases nonetheless.

Anecdotally, it seems many homeowners who were planning to sell in the next 4-8 weeks are accelerating their timeline, fearing the uncertainty of the future economy. A boost in inventory from motivated sellers while demand continues to fall (see below) could lead to a drop in prices in the near future.

Nationwide, the number of listings pulled off the market spiked over the past week.

Nationwide Data

SHOWINGS

The average number of showings per listing in Arlington (first chart) have dropped each of the last four weeks from 10.44 showings four weeks ago to 2.91 showings this past week.

Showings in Washington, D.C. have dropped by 41.4% compared to this time last year. The tool I have to generate this data only offers statewide info, so I chose to use Washington, D.C. (yes, I know it’s not a state) instead of Virginia because the Washington, D.C. market is much more reflective of Northern Virginia than the Virginia market. Showings are down 32.9% across North America.

Arlington Data

CONTRACTS

While some buyers still find themselves competing with other offers, the amount of competition in the market is down significantly. From the first week of February through the first week of March (five weeks), 61% of homes listed for sale in Arlington went under contract within seven days.

Two weeks ago (first full week of our daily lives being disrupted by COVID-19), that dropped to 52%, and this past week only 33% of homes listed went under contract within seven days (that number will likely increase into the 40s over the next 2-3 days).

It’s worth noting that the market would normally be selling even faster this past week than it did the previous 5-6 weeks as we move into peak buyer demand season.

What Other Industry Service Providers Are Seeing

I spoke with some other industry service providers to see how their numbers looked over the past week. The title attorney and lender I spoke with saw a significant spike in the number of ratified purchase contracts they received. On the other hand, the inspector I work with saw their numbers drop dramatically. 

INSPECTIONS

I spoke with Ken Humphreys, the Area Manager of Virginia and Maryland for BPG Inspections, one of the largest inspection companies in the country, and their total inspection in Virginia and Maryland were down 37% last week. They’re currently on pace to be down 45-50% this week.

TITLE

Sarah Anderson, Managing Attorney for Universal Title’s Arlington Office, shared with me that they received 35 contracts last week. They had received 75 contracts over the previous three weeks combined.

MORTGAGE

Jake Ryon, a Loan Officer with First Home Mortgage, told me that he’s been averaging 2.2 purchase contracts per week this year, and last week he received eight (crazy!).

A local lender I spoke with surveyed their appraisers on COVID-19 related questions and learned the following from 272 respondents:

  • 35% are no longer performing interior inspections
  • 43% are performing interior inspections but will likely stop if the situation deteriorates
  • 22% anticipate being able to perform interior inspections with precautions for the duration of the situation
  • 06% have heard from at least 1 borrower, realtor, or entry contact who will not permit the property to be inspected

Guidance?

While the future of public health and our economy are still extremely uncertain, the best anybody in the real estate industry can/should offer is a pulse on the current market with a very short-term outlook. Be wary of any advice you receive about what markets/life look like 3, 8, or 20+ weeks from now because nobody knows. Be especially wary of anybody promising that this will be a blip in the market and we’ll be back to normal come late summer (I’ve heard a lot of this talk).

In times like these, buying and investment decisions should be made based on long (5+ year) time horizons and you have to plan for best and worst case scenarios. If you’re considering selling your home, you have to acknowledge the massive amount of uncertainty even just a few weeks from now.

Be smart, be careful, be strategic. And stay home!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with RLAH Real Estate, 4040 N. Fairfax Dr. #10C Arlington, VA 22203, (703) 390-9460.

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Real estate market seeing new challenges amid COVID-19 pandemic – CityNews Edmonton

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CALGARY (CityNews) – Buyers are not able to go into homes, and sellers are taking them off the market as they quarantine.

The real estate industry has been deemed an essential service and can carry on but now, buyers, sellers, and agents are navigating a contactless world in a market full of unknowns.

“A lot of my buyers have just decided to put everything on hold, there’s a lot of uncertainty with how their down payments may be with affected by RRSP’s (and) job uncertainty,” said real estate agent Joseph Burke. “We’ve also seen some listings come off whether people are being quarantined or concerned about their overall health.”

In Alberta, COVID-19’s impact on oil prices is also set to have a major effect on the market.

“We may not get hit with the crisis as hard as they are in Italy, but the economic side of things, with oil dropping as fast as it has and all of that, that’ll be what will affect us on the real estate side,” said Burke.

Homebuyers were already advised to take precautions during open houses, not touching surfaces and keeping distance but there’s been a directive from the Alberta Real Estate Association to discontinue them beginning this week.

“Our realtors are getting very creative in doing videos and showing the property in other manners however typically people still want to feel and be in the home,” said Diane Scott with Royal Lepage Solutions.

Because it’s only been weeks since a societal shift began, the true impact of COVID-19 is still not completely apparent.

“What we are yet to see, is the economic impact will be from this pandemic on the real estate market. As the data starts to come out we’re gonna start to see where those trends are going and how it will affect us moving forward,” said Burke.

Despite a time of uncertainty, Diane and Joseph say it’s creating unique openings.

“There will be an opportunity for you as a seller especially because you’re going to have less competition in the early stages of it, buyers will be looking at your home versus 5 other homes, instead of 50 other homes,” said Burke.

“It’s a great opportunity, our prices are lower, there’s inventory out there, so if they’re in a rental, for instance, it would be a very good time to start looking to buy,” said Scott.

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Toronto real estate sales plunge as coronavirus weighs on market: Realtor – BNNBloomberg.ca

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Canada’s largest real estate market “hit the brakes” in the last full week of March as sales plunged and sellers pulled listings in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, according to a Toronto-based realtor.

What had been a gradual softening in Greater Toronto Area sales after a strong February turned decidedly negative last week, with sales down 37 per cent compared to the same period last year, John Pasalis, president of Realosophy Realty, told BNN Bloomberg in email.

There was also a 27 per cent increase in cancelled listings as the economy absorbs record job losses as entire industries come to a near standstill in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

“The market has definitely hit the brakes,” said Pasalis. He added some of those cancelled listings may end up getting relisted at a different price.

Despite the plunge in sales, Pasalis notes “the market is still quite stable because new listings are also on the decline.”

Numbers compiled by Realosophy Realty show new listings for the region fell by 33 per cent last week.

While last week’s average Toronto home price of roughly $856,000 is up about nine per cent year over year, annual price appreciation had been running stronger at the end of February into early March when there were more high-end homes being sold.

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Real estate market seeing new challenges amid COVID-19 pandemic – CityNews Calgary

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CALGARY (CityNews) – Buyers are not able to go into homes, and sellers are taking them off the market as they quarantine.

The real estate industry has been deemed an essential service and can carry on but now, buyers, sellers, and agents are navigating a contactless world in a market full of unknowns.

“A lot of my buyers have just decided to put everything on hold, there’s a lot of uncertainty with how their down payments may be with affected by RRSP’s (and) job uncertainty,” said real estate agent Joseph Burke. “We’ve also seen some listings come off whether people are being quarantined or concerned about their overall health.”

In Alberta, COVID-19’s impact on oil prices is also set to have a major effect on the market.

“We may not get hit with the crisis as hard as they are in Italy, but the economic side of things, with oil dropping as fast as it has and all of that, that’ll be what will affect us on the real estate side,” said Burke.

Homebuyers were already advised to take precautions during open houses, not touching surfaces and keeping distance but there’s been a directive from the Alberta Real Estate Association to discontinue them beginning this week.

“Our realtors are getting very creative in doing videos and showing the property in other manners however typically people still want to feel and be in the home,” said Diane Scott with Royal Lepage Solutions.

Because it’s only been weeks since a societal shift began, the true impact of COVID-19 is still not completely apparent.

“What we are yet to see, is the economic impact will be from this pandemic on the real estate market. As the data starts to come out we’re gonna start to see where those trends are going and how it will affect us moving forward,” said Burke.

Despite a time of uncertainty, Diane and Joseph say it’s creating unique openings.

“There will be an opportunity for you as a seller especially because you’re going to have less competition in the early stages of it, buyers will be looking at your home versus 5 other homes, instead of 50 other homes,” said Burke.

“It’s a great opportunity, our prices are lower, there’s inventory out there, so if they’re in a rental, for instance, it would be a very good time to start looking to buy,” said Scott.

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