Like most industries, the residential and commercial real estate markets are in a state of uncertainty due to COVID-19. What is unknown, though, is how long it will last.
“I’m hoping this is a few weeks issue, not a few months issue,” said IndyQuest broker and owner Creston Inderrieden. “I’m more concerned about the impact low oil (prices) will have on the property values in the long run than I am the virus.”
In a recent newsletter, Keller Williams broker Daniela Antelo noted that Lawrence Yu, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, had anticipated about $5.5 million in sales of previously owned homes this year, an increase from 2018 and 2019. Now, she allows that those expectations are somewhat tampered.
Ginny Ledwell, broker and team leader at Ledwell Realty, said she had recently seen an uptick in buyer interest due to lower interest rates, but that rates were fluctuating quite a bit.
“A couple of sellers have decided to put the breaks on (their) listing due to the uncertainty of this time and the market,” Ledwell said.
At the same time, she has seen an uptick in website activity since people are homebound.
“I don’t know if that will result in actual offers,” Ledwell said. “I think the majority of folks are watching things closely for the next two weeks or so.”
To combat the lack of current activity in the market, IndyQuest agents have been doing virtual open houses and virtual tours.
“We’re going to roll out some virtual happy hours to gather our clients and friends over Zoom meetings, or Facetime, to share a drink and some laughs even though it’s not acceptable to gather in person,” Inderrieden said.
Antelo said realtors in hard-hit King County, Washington, are still reporting the buying and selling of homes. However, large numbers of sellers deciding not to list their homes would reduce the spring inventory for willing buyers.
Still, Antelo is hopeful because of the benefits still available for buyers and sellers, namely low interest rates and rising home values.
“Looking at the data, I’m not concerned that buyers just disappear, but we’re going to see a drop in the number of transactions simply because people aren’t out shopping to the same extent,” Inderrieden said. “I believe prices will hold steady in the short term. Cheap oil will be the bigger driver for prices in my opinion.”
In the commercial realm, there are also a lot of unknowns, which some developers are seeking to mitigate.
“We are still moving any lease negotiations forward,” Revive Development’s Monica Danna said. “But (we’re) shifting our focus to helping to support our existing tenants.”
To help restaurants in their developments, including those at the corner of 34th Street and Ella Boulevard, Revive delivered signage early in the week to reserve to-go and pick-up parking spaces in front of the restaurants.
“We’re also using our social channels to help share any news they are sharing with their customers,” Danna said.