How will COVID-19 impact the real estate market?

By Dawn Whalen, Whalen Realty Group

By now real estate signs would normally be popping up in yards and people would be looking to move into a new home around the time school lets out. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has forced everyone into a different and new reality that is going to have an impact on nearly every industry and aspect of our lives. We’ve only been social distancing ourselves for a few weeks and already the real estate market is seeing big changes.

Inventory around Central Indiana was already low before COVID-19, but now families that were ready to list their homes have changed their minds because they don’t want to risk showings and allowing anyone possibly infected with the virus to enter their home. At the same time, open houses are cancelled until further notice, which means houses already on the market will have fewer showings and possibly less interest.

Title companies are seeing fewer closings because in some cases they’re unable to obtain all the documentation necessary online or virtually, and some buyers jobs may be in jeopardy as furloughs and temporary closings take effect.

Inventory is a problem the industry has been coping with for more than a year, but now some buyers are asking to only see unoccupied homes because it limits their exposure to people and potentially harmful germs. With restaurants, bars, public events and schools closed, it’s understandable why everyone is being cautious about entering another person’s house. But, because of the limited inventory and even fewer houses that are unoccupied, buyers are more willing to stay in their current home until the COVID-19 crisis is over or fresh inventory enters the market. At this time the only people we’re seeing interested in real estate are those who need to move in a few weeks or months.

If anyone is interested in listing their home in the coming weeks or months, we still believe prices will remain stable because of the limited inventory, but it could take a little longer for a home to sell simply because of the uncertainty of going outside, entering other people’s homes and being in the same room as strangers. Our team, and many others, are willing to provide virtual showings and video consultations to help families prepare their home for market when the time is right.

In Central Indiana, our office doesn’t believe COVID-19 will have a tremendous effect on the real estate market, but it will impact inventory, which is already low, and the limited inventory is what will allow homeowners to maintain their property’s market value. For now, keep soap, water and hand sanitizer readily available for anyone entering your home and maintain healthy habits.