Real Estate: Where are we now and what has changed?
This column is part three of an ongoing article that explores the impact COVID-19 is having on the local real estate market.
When I wrote the first column in this series showing the impact COVID-19 had on the real estate market, I compared what we saw in March of 2020 versus March of 2019. We were just starting to predict what would happen in the real estate market, but now nearly 3 months from the first major closures we are able to look back and see a little bit of a clearer picture.
At first glance it is obvious there was a sharp decline in Glenwood Springs real estate activity across the board in March and April of 2020. Like much of the nation’s economy it was as if everything froze overnight. According to Redfin, in March home sales dropped 9% nationwide compared to the previous month.
In our local Glenwood market we saw new listings hit an all-time low between April 1stand May 1stof 2020, with only 14 homes listed compared to 42 during the same time in 2019. When looking at March 1 to June 1 of 2020 we saw about a 30% decline in new listings across the board. It’s clear that during the start of the pandemic sellers were hesitant to list their homes for sale and many chose to wait. We saw 50% less price changes in 2020 compared to 2019 showing sellers who listed prior to March took the wait and see approach and held their price.
Although new listings were impacted, it is encouraging to see the amount of closings and under contract properties between 2019 and 2020 was fairly similar. Additionally, between May 1 to June 1, 2020 we saw a jump up to 41 new listings, compared to only 14 the month prior.
The curve is trending back up. Sellers are choosing to list again and buyers are looking to buy. With extremely low inventory we have seen many multiple offer situations and a much more competitive market dynamic for buyers. This doesn’t mean overpriced listings are selling, but well priced homes are selling very fast, often with multiple offers in the first few days on market.
As we look back at the past 3 months, it has been inspiring to see how people have come together in creative ways to adapt to the new normal and the real estate market is no exception. In the digital world we live in virtual tours have always been popular, but since COVID-19 demand has skyrocketed.
Many companies are utilizing new technology to allow a buyer to “walk” through the house virtually. Open houses are being done on Facebook live and home tours on Zoom. Although early on we saw a drop in engagement online, it has picked up significantly and continued to climb. On March 22 Zillow reported a 19% drop in pageviews nationally, but by April 15 page views were up year over year by 18%.
Clearly buyers are still watching the market and with so many options to see the home it is making shopping from the comfort of your own home easier than ever. Although the majority of buyers like to see a home in person before they buy it, some buyers feel comfortable enough with the virtual experience to put an offer in sight unseen.
While some buyers are satisfied with touring virtually, others prefer to tour in person even if they need to jump through a few extra hoops. If you schedule a showing you should expect to be required to wear a mask, socially distance and not touch anything in the home. Many times the seller will open the doors and turn all lights on before the showing and only the agent will touch the door handle. Buyers will then walk through the home without touching anything and leave. Most showings only allow two people plus the agent in the home at a time and no children. Despite these rules buyers are still scheduling showings, and just like new listings we have seen a notable increase in the last month.
So what will the next 3 months look like? I would expect to continue to see a lot of options for digital home tours and open houses online. Wearing masks in homes during showings will likely still be required as well as social distancing. Based on what we have seen in the last 3 months I believe we will continue to see a rise in new listings over the summer and hopefully move towards a more balanced market. I’m sure we will see some ebb and flow over the next few months, but I am optimistic that we are seeing our market start to recover.
Alisha Riddile is a broker associate with Roaring Fork Sotheby’s International Realty in Glenwood Springs.
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