Real Estate is now “essential”

The real estate market in the Charlotte area was red hot going into the pandemic. This is a great place to live and buyers were competing hard for the extremely limited inventory. Once the pandemic hit, Mecklenburg County issued the most strict stay at home orders in the state. While real estate has been considered “essential” if you have a contract in process, that rule precluded many buyers from continuing their search easily. Now, those orders have lifted and from the selling side, it is a great time to jump back in, and fast!

Of course there have been ways to navigate the stay at home rules. If a buyer absolutely needed a home, they could see vacant properties. But knowing the pandemic has caused some buyers to step back from the market, sellers have also waited to list. The effect: inventory is at record lows. During the pandemic, savvy buyers have taken the time to get their financing set, and they have been able to see homes in a less frantic market. Closings have proceeded, albeit often in parking lots! Many sellers who decided to jump in and sell during the pandemic found that their home was hot – they got tons of attention because the choices were so limited. Other sellers have been prepping their homes and waiting. Spring is always a great time to buy and sell. People are outside, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and sometimes there are school deadlines to consider. The expectation was Mecklenburg County would reopen on May 8th. Somewhat out of the blue the towns who make up Mecklenburg County decided to open earlier. New guidelines have been issued and the stay at home order has been lifted. Occupied homes as well as vacant homes can now be shown.

What does this mean? Most likely there will be a surge of new listings imminently. Because many sellers had May 8th in mind, there is a strong likelihood that will be a surge weekend. However, sellers who are ready and have just been waiting for this to lift will likely benefit by getting their home listed asap. Buyers are literally waiting for homes to appear in MLS. Sellers want to be ahead of the surge when many homes will come on the market and it becomes harder for their home to shine.

Interest rates are still extremely low, and perhaps going lower. Once the surge happens and as unemployment continues to rise post pandemic, prices may begin to soften a bit. Increased inventory may reduce some of the competition and prices may not continue to appreciate at the extremely rapid rate we’ve seen in recent years.

How will Realtors handle showings differently in this new world?

Yes, we will make some changes to ensure continued health and safety, but this is a great time to jump back in…. and given what we expect to see, the sooner the better!

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