As the coronavirus continues to affect businesses across the Santa Clarita Valley, the real estate market has not been immune.
Nearly half of realtors, 48%, have said home-buyer interest has decreased due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a National Association of Realtors survey released recently. That percentage tripled from a week prior, when it stood at 16%.
“There are a lot of buyers who are taking this seriously and who are trying to shelter at home,” said Michael Regilio, of The Regilio Group and RE/MAX of Santa Clarita and board member of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. “If there isn’t a dramatic desire or need to move right this minute, then they’re hanging on and putting off the home search.”
In the last seven days in Santa Clarita, 69 properties have gone into escrow and 71 have closed escrow, while there are a total of 409 active listings as of Friday. “So, there’s still activity going on.”
The latest Economic Pulse Flash Survey conducted by the NAR on March 16-17 showed that though 69% of realtors said there’s no change in the number of homes on the market, 61% of realtors said sellers have changed how their home is viewed while it remains on the market.
In areas where there were confirmed cases of COVID-19, 20% of realtors reported homes were removed from the market, which increased significantly from 3% on the March 9 survey.
About 60% of sellers have made changes due to COVID-19, including canceling open houses, requiring buyers wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when visiting their home, or asking buyers to remove shoes or wear footies.
“There’s a myriad of different processes that sellers who are allowing their homes to be shown are putting into place,” Regilio said. “But then there are also quite a few other sellers who are definitely saying ‘We don’t want our property shown right now.’”
In the last seven days, 29 properties have been put on hold, while others are choosing to do things virtually.
“Because of the technology, we can still do a reasonable real estate transaction,” Regilio added. “There have been some creative ways of (social) distancing, (including) virtual showings or inspections, and loan documents are still being signed.”
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun believes with fewer listings in what’s already a housing shortage environment, home prices are likely to hold steady. Even so, Yun expects a strong rebound once quarantines are lifted.
Though he said it’s difficult to know the long-term outcome, Regilio agreed, adding, “We’re going to not only bring in the normal influx of new activity, but we’re going to add the pent-up demand that’s happening now of people that want to (purchase a home) but who are being responsible, so it could be a very, very active late spring, summer, second and third quarter market for sure.”
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