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Signs of Optimism in the Real Estate Market

By: Karl Lee, Chairman, MLSListings

To say the world has been unsettling recently would be an understatement. With the convergence of a global pandemic, economic challenges, protests and tentative re-openings, you are not alone in searching for signs of optimism.

One place you might be pleasantly surprised to find signs of optimism in is the real estate market.  Shelter-in-place was quite a force in making people rethink their current living situations. Some suddenly realized that room for a home office was no longer a nice-to-have, but critical for the future. Others new to working from home scrambled to find a quiet space to focus. Parents became teachers with a need for room to homeschool and areas to play outside given the closings of playgrounds and parks.

These conditions are drivers that shape our real estate market. Northern California is supported by a strong tech employee work base. We have a high number of employees able to shift to working from home, while maintaining their jobs and incomes.

Northern California’s decision to shelter early may have played a role in the increase in demand. Staring at the same four walls while sheltering for months on end unleashed pent-up demand for finding new shelter. Buyers and sellers are ready to make a change.

Renters want to buy a house to avoid shared community spaces like elevators. Homeowners without significant outdoor space want a big yard. Others who have been trying to work from the dining room table want a space dedicated solely to working from home.

With historical lows in interest rates for homes, there is a prime opportunity to borrow money. Another factor is the stock market. As MLSListings Partner Economist, Elliot Eisenberg, noted on MLSListings Live, the surprisingly resilient stock market provides homebuyers with additional opportunities to cash in their stocks to for down payments.

With inventory across the country at record lows, and a shortage of new homes being built, buyers and sellers are poised to act. Some may consider relocating to another area farther from the city now that they can work remotely. Others are considering moving within the same town to have a home office in order to work from home permanently as companies reduce office space or consider satellite offices.

Another supporting factor of real estate is the ability to pivot to digital methods, such as virtual tours and open houses for showings, Zoom conferences and low contact closings.

“Leveraging technology while listening and responding to the local needs of our subscribers and their clients is priority number one. During shelter-in-place, we responded to the specific challenges faced by our subscribers by augmenting their marketing capabilities through expanding our virtual offerings,” said Dave Wetzel, President and CEO of MLSListings. “MLSListings supports the entire real estate community in maintaining productivity while staying safe during COVID-19, and we are encouraged by the positive factors moving the market in the right direction.”

Seeing these signs of optimism in our real estate marketplace underscore reasons to be hopeful as we cautiously continue steps to re-open. Mobility may increase as we watch inventory grow and changes in contingent and pending sales. This activity is heartening. The pipeline of inventory may have been reduced during shelter-in-place, but it is beginning to regenerate.  If you are considering buying or selling a home, your Realtor© armed with the latest MLSListings data can be your resource and point you in the right direction.

This article originally appeared in SFGate.

 

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