Spring is usually the busiest time in the real estate market. But this year may be different.
Children home from schools, restaurants and bars closed, and people told to stay home as much as possible, the coronavirus has changed life as Americans know it. Next it’s expected to affect spring home-buying season, as well.
But Ashtabula County realtors say, so far, they are selling properties.
“It’s the perfect time to sell or buy a house and take advantage of the market the way it is,” said Debra Woodworth, president of the Ashtabula County Realtors. “There are not enough homes on the market in Ashtabula County for the demand.”
Additionally, the federal government has taken action to shore up the economy against the threat of the virus, with the Federal Reserve cutting its benchmark interest rate to zero and area residents are taking advantage of it, she said.
Woodworth, a realtor for All Points Realty, said she was licensed in 2007 when the effects of the real estate crisis decimated home values throughout the country. She said, from her perspective, sales are going well despite a smaller inventory.
While that seems enticing for more prospective home buyers to enter the market, escalating efforts to encourage Americans to self-quarantine could discourage those would-be buyers in the near future. This is where showing homes while still occupied could get tricky, said Butch Bennett of Harbor Realty.
“We just closed on a [vacant] house,” he said. “I don’t expect anything to change as long as the courthouse stays open and interest rates remain at a record low.”
Just like Woodworth, Bennett said the difference between northeast Ohio and other real estate markets is that there’s a housing shortage in Ashtabula County.
Assured Real Estate owner and broker, Raegan Hagerdon, reiterated her fellow realtors remarks.
“[The coronavirus] is not scaring buyers — vacant or occupied homes,” she said. “No one has said, ‘You can’t come into my house.’ Now is the time to sell — low inventory, less competition.”
Hagerdon said the only problem she foresees is underwriters want proof of employment and pay stubs at closing. That could be a problem for waitresses, hair stylists, bartenders, etc., who are temporarily out of work because of the coronavirus.