When is the right time to buy or sell a home? The answer to that question is unique to each individual or family, involving unlimited factors, and one of the biggest considerations on people’s minds right now is COVID-19, says Heather Derrick of Boggs Inspection Services. “Some people might be hesitant, feeling that now is not a good time to buy or sell, but even in the midst of everything going on right now, it’s still a good opportunity to buy or sell real estate.” If you are curious about what the local real estate market looks like right now, read on.
A Current Snapshot of the Market
Real estate in the South Sound has long been impacted by a couple of major factors: desirability and inventory. As more people move to the Pacific Northwest, inventory has struggled to keep up with demand. Already low housing inventory has continued to drop as the region reacts to COVID-19. Prices have also risen, and fewer homes are being sold. Both Thurston and Pierce Counties are considered sellers’ markets, as a result of low inventory and rising prices.
As compared with a year ago in June 2019, Thurston County has seen a decrease in sales of residential homes, dropping from 533 homes to 422, a decrease of 23.69 percent, according to data provided by Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The median price of single-family homes rose 7.94 percent from $344,000 in 2019 to $371,305. New listings of single-family homes dropped to 493 as compared to 618 in 2019.
The trends are similar in Pierce county, as well. The county has also seen a decrease in residential home sales: 1521 homes sold in June of 2019, but only 1297 sold this year in June, a decrease of 15.38 percent. As inventory dropped in Pierce county, median prices rose from $376,500 to $410,000. Mirroring Thurston county, new listings also decreased in June from last year, from 1443 to 1751.
But as each county continues through the phased reopening, new home construction will continue, and more sellers will want to take advantage of the current market, listing their homes and increasing available inventory.
What does a Seller’s Market Mean for Buyers?
A seller’s market is not a stop sign for buyers, but it is good to evaluate your wants, needs and expectations. Being prepared before you start searching for a home with a pre-qualification is always a great step. If you can get started on preapproval, which is a more in-depth process with your lender, but shows sellers that you are prepared and invested in the process. A preapproval will also allow you to move quickly with an offer when you find the home you really want.
Finding the right place might take some time. Make a list ranking your priorities, including items like home features and size, property location, price, and any other major considerations. Home buying is a very personal process, laying out expectations ahead of time can help you feel more confident in your decisions as you begin looking through home options.
Health and Safety in response to COVID-19
Real Estate professionals have long been at the forefront of adapting to new technology. With online listings, pictures, and virtual walkthroughs regularly available long before COVID-19, home sellers could show off their property to interested buyers across the country. This has made the adaption to health and safety guidelines as a result of COVID-19, much smoother than for many other industries. Many in the real estate industry are making additional accommodations to their services to keep their clients and employees even safer during COVID-19 and don’t be afraid to ask your agent what can be done to stay safe.
In order to ensure the health and safety of their customers and employees, Boggs Inspection Services has made some changes to their inspections. Unless the county of inspection has advanced to Phase 3 of the Safe Start reopening plan, customers are no longer present during the inspection, limiting in-person interactions, and reducing the opportunity for virus transmission. However, customers are just as involved with the inspection process as ever. Inspectors connect with customers in a variety of ways. Utilizing Zoom, FaceTime, or a simple telephone call, Boggs inspectors cover the whole inspection with their customers.
As always, customers receive a thorough written report detailing all aspects of the inspection. “Our inspectors do follow-ups once the customer has had time to look through the report,” says Heather. “Follow-ups with the inspector allow the perfect opportunity to have your questions answered so you can feel you are making the best, most informed decisions that are right for you and your family.”
The Bottom Line
Financial institutions, escrow agencies, realtors, and housing inspectors have all adapted well to the changes that have come about as a result of COVID-19. The right time to step into the real estate market is different for everyone, but the team at Boggs Inspection Services wants you to know that they and other industry professionals are ready to assist their customers to navigate the market safely and confidently today, and always.
Boggs Inspection Services can be reached through their website.