Many of us have been anxiously awaiting updated housing statistics as we continue to navigate this global corona-virus pandemic. Our local WRA (Wisconsin Realtors Association) has been a wonderful resource during this time and has continued to keep a pulse on the statewide housing market. Many of us in the industry have had varying experiences with how this pandemic has impacted the market. However, the overall consensus has indicated a steep decline in listing inventory. This is confirmed by the March 2020 statistical report recently published by the WRA whereas total listing volume was down by -9.9%.
Here is a helpful video released by the WRA with our statewide housing statistics.
A summary breakdown of these statistics illustrates that unit sales are still higher than last years sales. Many in the industry feel that the March sales were the result of offers that were accepted prior to the Pandemic and Stay at Home orders. We continue to see a rise in home values with an increase of over 12%! The WRA also tracks the number of residential listings that have either canceled, expired or been withdrawn from the market. From January 1 through April 15th the number of cancelled, expired or withdrawn listings has rose by 22.2%. Our WRA President and CEO Michael Theo is quoted stating"The bottom line is that sellers are increasingly deciding to sit tight until the state lifts the order to stay home."
Our third-party vendor, ShowingTime has also put together a helpful graph illustrating the overall change in showing activity. You will notice a steep decline at the end of March, whereas our Stay at Home order was implemented. It's encouraging however to see a slight rise in showing activity toward the middle part of April. The use of technology has been an incredible resource for many home sellers and buyers to remain engaged in the market.
It's often difficult to achieve a clear illustration of the impact of COVID-19 until operations begin to normalize. Projections indicate it will take time for the monthly sales figures to normalize and illustrate true trends. However, David Clark, Marquette University economist and consultant to the WRA was quoted; "There should be good opportunities when the housing market does normalize, with a moderation of the price appreciation and very low mortgage rates."
Let's all continue to remember that the housing market had a VERY strong start to 2020. Wisconsinites are resilient and industry professionals feel that we can bounce back quickly!
Stay Strong Wisconsin!
Sources: WRA.org (https://www.wra.org/hsrmar2020/) Showingtime.com (https://www.showingtime.com/impact-of-coronavirus/ )
your questions answered
To many of us the idea of Spring brings anticipation for the blossoming and blustering Real Estate Market. Many home sellers excitedly anticipate getting their homes ready to list and buyers prepare for an increase of inventory. However, the Spring of 2020 has certainly started out with circumstances quite the contrary. I don’t think any of us were prepared for what was to come as the Coronavirus pandemic started building in March of this year. We are now in unsettling and uncharted waters where many of us are left adjusting to these new circumstances. Learning how to navigate our careers and advising our consumers has been a continuous effort. As a Real Estate Professional of a Family run business for 17 years I can proudly say that the Real Estate community, including Brokers, Agents, Title professionals etc have all come together like I’ve never seen before. The NRA, WRA and our local boards have rallied together to ensure that the Real Estate community is well prepared, informed and has the adequate resources to navigate all aspects of the Real Estate industry. Many of you may find yourself in a holding pattern, whereas you would normally be preparing to list or buy your new home. My goal in this post is to provide clarity and guidance as to what the market is doing and what resources are available to consumers during this time and how everyday practices have been adjusted to ensure transactions continue as best, they can.
Have Buyers and Sellers suspended their buying/selling plans?
While perhaps the recent developments have detoured people from continuing with their original buying/selling plans, many people still need to find homes. Where we have seen the largest decrease in Buyer pool are those who do not have a ‘need’ to purchase at this time. Those buyers have elected to hold off for the time being. Whereas many buyers who have homes that have Sold or perhaps other situations that are causing a housing need are still out there. This has created a great opportunity for those buyers who would have been in a rather high competition market. The same rings true for home sellers. Whether their home was already on the market OR their home sale is a result of an unchangeable circumstance, homes are still being marketed and listed. The reduced inventory allows home sellers during this time a greater opportunity as well. The market prior to this situation was doing very well; interest rates remained at an all-time low and home values continued to increase. Below is a helpful Video released on March 16th of the prior month statistics. We anticipate new data to be release around April 16th which will help evaluate the most up to date statistics.
How are Home Showings Affected?
This is really a two-fold question; there is a statistical aspect of showings as well as a precautionary aspect of showings. Below I address both:
Our third party showing service; ShowingTime has been a wonderful resource and continues to provide wonderful data that assists us in the industry. While not all showings are recorded using their system it does provide a general basis for statistics. The information below indicates an overall increase in showings from last year. We started seeing a decline on March 16th and a continued decrease through March 29th with an overall weekly change of -19.2%.
ShowingTime’s Chief Analytics Officer Daniil Cherkasskiy was quoted below with some positive observations indicating that showing trends appear to be normalizing. (March 30 Observations) “Looking at the numbers over the weekend, showing traffic continued to subside, but at a significantly lower rate compared to last week. It’s important to note that for the first time this week in 20 states the week over week traffic remained in line with last week’s, either rising or declining slightly by less than 5 percent — a normal range of variation around this time of year. If the current trend continues, we should be stabilizing within a week in terms of overall traffic.”
Our local MLS board along with the WRA have encouraged agents to utilize things such as
Virtual Showings and Virtual Tours. Our local Metro MLS board has eliminated restrictions on branded videos being posted on our listings. This means sources such as Vimeo & YouTube links can now be posted on listings. In person showings are still taking place AND are considered a practice protected under the ‘Essential Work’ order issued by Governor Evers. However, it’s best practice for individuals to be limited to the principal buyer and agent only while utilizing things such as gloves, masks and sanitizer during showings. Open Houses are discouraged, and any posting ability has been removed from MLS as well.
Resources for current Home Sellers
Virtual Tours: Buyers Vantage has been in contact with several industry professionals with regards to providing services that may be beneficial to them during this time. While showings may be limited it is a great opportunity to maximize your listing with a Virtual Tour. Kimeez Photography has been our preferred professional photographer for many years. She offers amazing photography and has expanded her services to include virtual tours, drone photography and even 3D tours. Check out this virtual tour example here
Contact us HERE for more details and pricing.
Home Warranties: Many sellers have found that offering incentive's to their listings has been a great benefit. We have partnered with Cinch Home Warranty as our premier warranty provider and they are offering $50 Off their Preferred home warranty plan. More info can be found HERE
How does the ‘Safer at Home Order’ affect Real Estate operations ie: banks, title co, closings and more. ?
The new ‘Safer at home order’ that went into effect March 24th will last through April 25th. This order has many consumers confused as to how this affects the Real Estate community in relation to pending transactions and potential sales. The full safer at home order can be found HERE .
As it relates to protected parties in the Real Estate community this order provides that among the essential businesses and operations permitted are professional services (page 13), which includes real estate services, including appraisal, home inspection, and title services. It does, however, specify that services shall, to the greatest extent possible, use technology to avoid meeting in person.
Most Real Estate offices are closed to the public, however have limited staffing in office or many working remotely. This has been a policy adapted by our own office, whereas many of us are working remotely and visiting the office on alternating days. We have found that many Title companies have instituted some wonderful resources to consumers for closings such as Remote Notary resources and drive through closings. Many are requesting that only the principal seller and buyer along with the title rep attend closing. Banks are also still operational and lending institutions are continuing to work new and pending transactions. Business operations may be altered to provide consumers more opportunities to provide information or applications electronically as opposed to in person.
Resources for Property Owners – Stimulus Opportunities
During this time of economic hardship Congress passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package on March 27, 2020. As of now here are some of the helpful resources available to property owners during this time.
Credit Reporting & Student Loans
This continues to remain a very active situation and new developments are arising and changing daily. President Trump issued a statement indicating that our county may remain in this holding pattern until April 30th. Our goal here at Buyers Vantage is to continue to remain informed and provide helpful updates to our community. We are always here to help and assist in any way we can. As a Family owned business we believe strongly that we work better when we are unified. Our community continues to amaze me with their ability to unify and come together during this time. From our family to yours; stay safe, stay healthy and remember … we are all in this together.