Coronavirus and Seattle Real Estate

I just heard “the carnage continues on Wall Street” on the radio. That sounds serious. Coronavirus is really affecting everything right now.  My son’s ultimate frisbee game is canceled, ok, no biggie. But yes biggie – should I cancel my open house? 

What is Coronavirus Doing to Seattle Real Estate?

Locally, there have been a small number of sellers who have canceled their listings because they don’t want strangers touring their homes and potentially infecting the spaces. I have also heard of several buyers choosing to get out of home purchases. I am sure there are various reasons for this: people are seeing their investments shrink and some are unable to work affecting wages and/or job uncertainty.   So far, no change in home prices, still heading up. I will update here if we see something different.

From a Buyer’s Perspective:

The lack of homes for sale is already an issue. I could go on and on with stories of “even this crappy house got 10 listings and went for $50K over” but I won’t, it’s kind of depressing – I like it when my buyers are happy. 

So if we see less homes hitting the market over the next month, its going to get worse.

Silver lining here is that the interest rates dropped AGAIN.  People, they are at almost 50 year lows!  Most of you – probably 90% of you – should refinance! Call me if you want to hash over if you should refinance or not. Seriously, do not miss this. 

Anyhow – If you are a Buyer – we CAN get you a home and you will be very happy with the rate.  Also, lots of people staying home. Maybe less competition?  I do think some Buyers are holding off because they worry about infection and/or the economy. 

From a Seller’s Perspective:

Isn’t it nice to be the boss?  Yup – sellers are calling all the shots right now. We are climbing another peak in Seattle real estate prices and the ascent is expected to continue. Dare I say we will see double digit appreciation once more. Unless…. Coronavirus?

I don’t believe that the current affairs will affect home sales and prices. Buyers are still interested in buying.  

I do think sellers have to take precaution in having groups of buyers though open houses and with showings. Technology can help!

I am for one setting up virtual videos of all my listings and offer virtual open houses where I am available in real time to answer any questions from buyers. There are many things I can easily implement that minimize the traffic though my listings. More than happy to share this with any of you.  On the other hand, I am not canceling any of my open houses unless requested by the seller. Nor am I afraid to go out and show houses. I come armed with wipes and happy to bump elbows. 

Going forward

Surely some Buyers are holding off because they worry about the economy.  Maybe if Coronavirus persists we will see a recession? We might. But please remember – recessions rarely cause real estate prices to drop. The last big recession was caused by bad mortgages; directly caused by housing itself, not a pandemic.

But who knows.  

You bet I will post as soon as I see any effect on sales numbers or prices.  By the way – real estate brokers see changes well before the news media – we look at numbers daily. By the time anything gets into your local newspaper it is old news. 

Finally, my condolences to all affected.  And a huge thank you to all the nurses and caregivers going to work in this environment. Be well, stay healthy and make the right decisions for you and your family.