Real estate is considered an “essential business” so we are still at it albeit with many changes to the way we do business. Virtual open houses, live streamed open houses, zoom showings and 3-D tours are the new normal. We can even physically show houses if a variety of safety protocols are followed.
COVID has definitely put a damper on things however. According to an article this week in the Union-Tribune, San Diego home prices were rising faster than any other California market in February. The San Diego metropolitan area increase was 4.6% for the year. This was attributed to a strong economy and falling interest rates. March numbers aren’t in but my sense is we will see a flattening of that increase.
Through a stats tracking program I get weekly updates on all listings, sold listings and new listings in the MLS. Last week in East County there were 55 sold listings. Compare that with the 7-day period ending February 26 which had 60 sold listings and, while there was a decrease, it isn’t large enough to cause a panic.
We are seeing buyers more hesitant to shop, sellers more hesitant to list and lenders being more cautious and requiring higher credit scores . The lenders in the jumbo market space (loans above roughly $700,000) have really cracked down. While there are still lenders making these loans they are tougher to get unless you have great credit. What that all means is there is less inventory on the market so we haven’t seen a significant drop in prices. Or at least we haven’t see it yet.
Depending on how long businesses stay shuttered we could see a downturn in prices. However, inventory is very low and most real estate economists think if interest rates stay low the real estate market will get back to normal fairly quickly once things open up.
Of course my crystal ball isn’t working (and the repair man is booked out for months!) so all I can say today is I have my gloves and mask on and am ready to work if I can be of service.