And it’s here, the widespread health crisis we all knew would eventually come. While many people are scrambling to find toilet paper (seriously, what is that about), most of us have decided to hole up at home and do our part to help delay the spread of COVID 19 (Coronavirus disease). Many of my clients are asking me how they feel this will affect the housing market and while I don’t have an exact answer, I can share my experience so far.
What generally is an extremely busy time of year, (I was just quoted three weeks ago in a Boston.com article talking about how the spring market has come early) we have seen a slow down that was swift and widespread. The combination of the stock market and the virus, as well as school and restaurant closures has left many people feeling uncertain about the future. When people are uncertain, they generally don’t make large purchases or big moves. I’ve had 3 clients this week who were ready to list for sale decide that they were going to hold off. And who can blame them? With the news and medical professionals showing us facts about the spread of this virus, who would want a stream of strangers in their homes?
Those who have lost large amounts in the stock market are also reevaluating their desire to make big purchases which has also compounded the already scarce listing inventory (if people aren’t moving, they aren’t listing their homes for sale). One silver lining is that interest rates are EXTREMELY low, lower than ever before. So those that are ready to move have the benefit of more purchasing power within their monthly payment budget. This is actually a great opportunity to be a buyer as rates are better than ever and many buyers aren’t able to enter the market without wanting to list their home for sale simultaneously.
As scary as this time is for many people, I think it’s important to remember that this too shall pass. We all need to do our part to help slow the spread so our hospitals are not inundated and those at higher risk are not unnecessarily exposed. I think we can expect a delay in the spring market but eventually, the sun will come out and people will be back ready to list and buy. What was usually a busy March, April, May, will probably push to May, June, July. If you’re planning to sell, don’t worry too much. My advice; Stay home, grab a cup of coffee and book, and relax, it’s going to be ok. In a few months houses will sell, people will buy and the world will keep rotating. But don’t forget to keep washing your hands!!