Not Easy: Seeking New Shelter While Sheltering In Place

The shelter-in-place orders designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 have slowed home selling nationwide, but local experts are sure the market will rebound.

A recent National Association of Realtors survey found that 59% of real estate agents surveyed said buyers are delaying home purchases for a couple of months, while 57% said sellers are delaying as well.

“Home prices will remain stable because of a pandemic-induced reduction in inventory coupled with less immediate concerns over foreclosures,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, who added that the temporary slowdown would be followed by a “strong rebound.”

Real estate professionals we spoke to agreed with that assessment.

“I see plenty of signs out there that when given the opportunity to get out there again and get in the market, people are going to do it – and I think they’re going to do it with vigor.” -Steve Collins

“People are being cautious – there’s a hyper-awareness about personal health, personal safety, and personal hygiene, and not knowing who lives in the house you’d be viewing, or who is coming into your home,” said Steve Collins with Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate.

And while Kay Wood with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s said that fear has put a damper on the market right now, she’s still seeing homes sell.

“We are still seeing new listings come on the market and go under contract, especially at more affordable price points,” she said.

“Not every real estate transaction is an elective decision,” Chris Kelly, president and CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies, pointed out. “We still have people moving to North Texas for work opportunities, people needing more house for an expanding family or a different home for changed circumstances.”

Real estate experts agreed that the market will rebound.

“I think based on what we are seeing now, there will be some pent-up demand and buyers taking advantage of low-interest rates,” Wood said.

“I see plenty of signs out there that when given the opportunity to get out there again and get in the market, people are going to do it – and I think they’re going to do it with vigor,” Collins said. “Interest rates are just incredibly low, and it’s still a wonderful time to buy.”

Kelly said that while he thinks the market is positioned for a rebound “more so than almost every other market in the United States,” how quickly it does so may be subject to how quickly people can get back to work.

“We believe home sales will markedly improve as we get further on the backside of the health crisis,” he said. “It will be the longevity of the economic impacts from the health crisis that have the bigger and more unknown effect on how fast the housing market rebounds.”

Wood said that the public can do a great deal to get the market back to normal, too.

“The more people respect shelter in place and social distancing, the less and the shorter the market disruption and the easier it will be for us to recover quickly,” she said.

Read more of our conversations with real estate experts.


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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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