The coronavirus has upended daily life in the DMV and no facet of business has been left untouched. The DMV housing market appears resilient with new listings and new contracts showing no signs of slowing down as of today. Buyers and sellers appear to be taking the long view and not adjusting their plans for downsizing, upsizing, estate sales, relocations for new jobs, etc. We listed a DC condo for sale yesterday and we had 5 in person showings yesterday alone with a steady flow of requests coming in for today and into the weekend. Additionally we had 2 buyers that closed without a hitch this week. Our weekend is booked with buyer showings, seller meetings and an open house on Sunday. It’s business as usual, for now.
With that being said, we are seeing the following adjustments in the market:
- Interest rates hit an ALL-TIME low over the past two weeks as the bond market adjusted to the virus. Buyers have unprecedented buying power as a result.
- These low interest rates have also caused a record number of current homeowners to start the process of re-financing their existing mortgages. The result? Lenders are pushing rates back up to stem demand. Title companies and appraisers are swamped. We’re adjusting to this with longer financing and appraisal contingencies in our contracts and firming up settlement dates and times prior to making or accepting offers.
- Open houses are still happening but agents are taking common sense pre-cautions like having hand sanitizer at the ready, wiping down door knobs, fist bumping instead of shaking hands, etc. This weekend (3/14 – 3/15) will be a bellwether for open houses into the spring. We’ll be watching attendance and buyer behavior closely and will adjust as needed.
- Some sellers are requesting not to have open houses and to allow showings by appointment only but these appear to be the exception to the rule for now.
- Buyers are vetting properties online more closely than in the past and online listing traffic has spiked as a result. Pictures, floor plans and video (when appropriate) are always important but are absolutely critical to a sale right now.
- The stock market’s jarring swings have made some buyers’ planned down-payment less than they were planning even 3 weeks ago but most buyers for this spring market had either already pulled their assets from the market or have access to liquid funds that are not impacted by the stock market swings.
We’re closely monitoring all of these changes as well as watching for indicators of further disruption and/or new-normals.
At The Stokes Group, our business has, for 15 years, been built around one fundamental rule: It’s all about you, our clients.
- your needs
- your finances
- your time
- your dreams
- your concerns
- your questions
- your life
Our team has been guiding buyers and sellers in the DMV market for over 15 years and we’ve been through local, national and international events that sent shockwaves through our communities and our real estate industry. Through each of these events and the current coronavirus, we’ve worked tirelessly to advise our clients on how to respond and best position themselves based on their individual needs. We’ll continue to do so as we navigate this pandemic.