Real estate agent says housing market impacts from COVID-19 may hit later in 2020

Real estate agent says housing market impacts from COVID-19 may hit later in 2020
A sign in front of a house for sale in Albemarle County. (Source: wvir)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - With the hit to the economy due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is still at least one market currently doing well: Right now, there is still some good news if you’re looking for a new home.

The latest data from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS (CAAR) suggests that there have been more home sales in the first quarter of 2020 than in the same time last year. The association, though, still has concerns about the impact of coronavirus.

According to CAAR’s latest report, sales of homes in central Virginia are up by 10% over 2019. CAAR President Tom Woolfolk says the COVID-19 outbreak has changed some of the normal processes for realtors.

“If you’re going to be doing an open house, make it a virtual open house so you don’t have people physically in there. Things like Facebook Live Stream are working out well for us,” Woolfolk said. “Also, if people just follow the standard CDC precautions, wear a mask, wear gloves, tell your clients not to touch anything. You’re the one who opens and closes doors, we wipe everything down.”

Woolfolk says the pandemic is bringing more attention to issues realtors have been dealing with for a while, such as the difficulty of selling some houses in rural areas.

“The broadband issue is a critical one," Woolfolk said. "It does affect real estate prices and desirability days on market.”

He added that can also have an impact on assessments and real estate taxes.

The other effects of the pandemic, such as businesses closing and employees being furloughed or let go entirely, could cause the housing market to slow down later in the year.

"Depending on how long this goes, how bad unemployment gets and how quickly the economy comes back, will determine what happens to the housing market. So, you know, we don’t know we can’t say with certainty what the economy is going to look like when we come back,” Woolfolk said.

Despite these trying times, Woolfolk does not expect the housing market to crash the way it did in 2008, since the virus is not directly linked to lending practices.

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