Second - I know many of you are home and constantly reading emails on your cell phones and being on Facebook and other social media sites hearing and seeing different things going on across the country during the pandemic. I have been getting quite a few questions about the current state of the market and if it’s a good time to buy or sell now in our South Jersey area?
I personally have the good fortune of being busy and sold 3 homes in the last 3 weeks, and two of them are closing quickly too. Thankfully we can still get things done like Co`s, in most towns, and everywhere we get title work done, home inspections etc, no problem at all. So far prices are staying stable.
It`s Wednesday--(Hump Day) 04/22/2020 when I am writing this and info has been changing just about daily; it’s been a lot. If you want to buy or sell a property here are some guidelines as of today:
In-person activities must be by appointment only.
No more than two people, including the realtor, may be at the property at any one time; and those two persons must strictly follow social distancing guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) by remaining at least six feet apart at all times.
No open houses (except virtual tours/online open houses) • Buyers must be pre-approved • Lenders, Escrow and Title - All essential to complete transactions • Professional photographers, staging, inspections, appraisals - ALL YES! .As long as they adhere to the above rules. Naturally vacant homes for sale, seem to be easier to show in the last 6 weeks, as they always are in general, but I noticed investors are still buying and owner occupied buyers are looking and buying now too.
Bottom line: Houses are certainly closing on time without a hitch in just about in all cases. Some title companies have set up tents outside of their buildings for easier drive up closing access.
Incredibly, virtually all numbers went UP across the board nationwide. Locally the listings of properties have slowed down some. Most people are still shocked and grasping the latest details about the virus to see what will happen and some others are moving forward and taking precautions and making things happen for themselves.
Here are the highlights:
• In March, sales prices continued to climb and we still saw multiple offers as buyers tried to take advantage of low interest rates.
• Although listing inventory is still DOWN overall from the same period last year, new listings, pending and closed sales were all UP over last month nationally.
• Buyers are decisive! More decisive in this market now, they come prepared wearing masks and gloves, so they are serious buyers for sure, and they are making decisions quicker now I noticed with most of them. The local property inventory is not as plentiful in most price segments as it was 2 years ago or even early of 2019 year.
The average days that a listing is on the market before they get into contract dropped from 42 days in February to only 26 days in March nationally. • Interest rates, like the stock market have been volatile. Your lender can explain what effect the Fed has on long term rates (not much). STILL very ALL TIME low interest rates now! - So no worries there at all.
As of today, a person buying with a 720 FICO credit score can get a low 30 year payout interest rate with zero points at an incredible fixed rate of just 3.30% For first time homebuyers, depending on what and where they are buying, it is usually much cheaper for them to buy and own now, then paying rent of $1500.00 a month or more.
Some loan types are no longer available and some banks have even withdrawn from the market temporarily. Overall, that is not a big loss, There are still have ample contacts for people with employment to get mortgages EVEN WITHOUT fabulous credit.
If your buying in the near future you certainly need a quick prequalification over the phone, with a good mortgage lender and better yet if possible eventually a complete approval subject to an appraisal, that will put you in the drivers seat to get the best deal possible on your purchase. This is a smart move for yourself, then you can compete with a cash buyer, if a multiple offer situation comes up, which certainly still can happen in this pandemic. I just saw it happen 4 days ago!
Real estate may not be your priority right now, but if you ever need anything or have questions, I am here for you. Things are improving more each day in the last week with buyer activity.
The worse of this pandemic seems to have pass now, hopefully.! :)
Always be cautious and careful. God bless us all. Stay Strong & Stay Healthy! All the best, Gary.
Gary Simmens is a local real estate broker with Keller William Atlantic Shore and has over 40 years experience in residential and commercial and business sales. You can see more at helpful website: www.GarySimmens.com