With the spread of  COVID-19 throughout the United States, safety measures were being put in place and nationwide quarantines were implemented. This will surely have a very unfavorable effect on the strong real estate market as clients’ concerns start to rise. Although it could be predicted how much damage the current situation will impact the industry, realtors are readying themselves to cope up with the changes.


According to the National Association of Realtors’ data gathered from a study they conducted on March 9-10, there have been a lot of changes in the way home sellers are doing their businesses. Among the 2,500 responses received from the survey, 300 of which were from Washington State, where the first Novel Coronavirus breakout has started in the country.


The study shows that about 1 in every 4 home sellers are already practicing extra caution limiting their open houses and requiring visitors to sanitize or wash their hands making sure they follow the safety protocols. There are about 44% of sellers in Washington and 33% of them in California who are adopting new safety procedures as required by the nationwide fight against the new virus scare.


While 78% of the respondents believed to have not seen changes in their clients’ buying interests, more homes were being taken out from the market as the buyer interest decreased drastically in both states of Washington and California.


California Realtors readying for the expected changes in the market


In another survey that was conducted by the California Association of Realtors on March 6-9 among its members, 50% of them are not too optimistic with the impact brought about by the current health crises upon their sales. They also have different opinions about the outcome of this current ordeal to home transactions—closing deals will be delayed, homes for sale will stay on the market longer, and prices could definitely suffer.


About 26% of the Realtors have clients who have already put their plans on buying a property on hold, and about a third of other clients are becoming skeptical about the impact of the crisis to the market.



Conferences and gatherings are rescheduled and postponed


Under regular circumstances, spring and summer are the seasons of many Realtor conferences taking place. However, due to the current situation, many of them have canceled their events. The National Association of Realtors which is supposed to have its Joint AE Institute event scheduled on March 13 to 16, as well as their Realtor Broker Summit on March 31 to April 1, have been cancelled. WomanUP!®, a women empowering initiative by the California Association of Realtors, also rescheduled their conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Even some of Bisnow and the Mortgage Bankers Association’s upcoming events were being put on hold. A number of other smaller real estate and local groups are taking the nationwide safety measures seriously by canceling or limiting their planned meetings and gatherings.


Buyers are becoming unsure of their plans


Buying a property is an emotional decision, and with the potential recession on the horizon and unstable stock market, it is understandable that clients are having second thoughts with their plans. The National Association of Realtors’ chief economist, Lawrence Yun, projected a 10% decrease of sales in the short term.


The markets for second homes and resorts could definitely be affected by the current situation as well. Summit Sotheby’s International Realty agent, Ben Fisher, from Park City, Utah, says that “multiple buyers holding off on pulling the trigger until this calms down,” resulting in cancellation of many buyer trips.


This is a highly unpredictable time and agents have to adapt quickly to the new practices while keeping their client’s mind at ease when they are unsure of their decisions. Even real estate advisor, Nicole Beauchamp, of Engel & Volkers, said that: “Every minute here in New York City feels like a different scenario.”


This could be temporary or…


The Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic comes in quite as a shock to the long time growth that the residential real estate business has been enjoying. This could be temporary or this will pose more challenges to the industry that has been struggling since the virus crisis. No one can really say what the future holds for sure. Things will pretty much depend on how wide the virus spreads and how it will be handled by the authorities and the people which will have a domino effect on the economy.