coronavirus effect on St. Louis real estate
The National Association of Realtors reported last week that pending home sales were at the second-highest level in the last two years. But in recent days, in markets where U.S. coronavirus is more prevalent, there’s has been a sharp drop in demand from homebuyers and sellers. As our economy tries to adjust to so many new factors, it is natural for those who have been considering buying or selling a home to wonder if now is the right time.
While the coronavirus numbers in St. Louis seem low compared to other hotspots across the country, we cannot predict what will happen in the next few weeks. However, we can point to the long-term forces shaping the housing market. Housing starts have recently started to rise, but for a variety of reasons, we believe there will be a long-term shortage of homes to buy. 2020 started with the lowest inventory levels in more than two decades and stronger demand growth than we’d seen in several years. Additionally, mortgage rates hit an all-time low earlier this week. However, with many self-quarantining, there will undoubtedly be a slow down in home buying. Scale and duration are key. When the virus is contained, we would expect to see demand spike as the housing market overall is quite strong and should be able to weather a short term economic downturn.
A Tech-Powered Brokerage Is a smart Choice for home buyers and sellers Worried About the Virus
Fortunately, Circa’s January 2020 announcement that all listings will receive a complimentary Matterport 3D Tour means we are better prepared for virus fears than many competitors. Matterport gives potential buyers an immersive virtual reality experience and 360-degree views of a listing. We perform three-dimensional scans of every home we’ve been hired to sell so that buyers can tour the home virtually, without having to congregate in an open house. The Dawn Griffin Group creates online marketing campaigns for every listing on Facebook and other sites. So while Open Houses are a part of our selling toolkit, we can sell homes just as effectively without one.
Homebuyers can always tour homes online through Matterport (see example below). In addition, our Buyer’s Specialist can conduct the tour virtually via video chat, answering questions and providing counsel in real-time.
Common-Sense Measures to Protect Our Clients
Out of an abundance of caution, we’re implementing some common-sense protocols at this time:
- We have advised our agents not to shake hands with customers so no one has to worry about contact new people; please do not take this personally.
- Our agents will be following CDC recommendations regarding hygiene and disinfecting frequently touched objects at home tours.
- Suspending Open Houses short term, effective 3/16/2020.
- Following recommendations of local health officials and community leaders.
If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. This is unchartered territory for most of us, but our experience and technical tools will put you in a better position to meet your real estate goals. But our ultimate goal is the safety and wellbeing of our clients and our community.