The real estate market, like every other sector of the economy, has certainly been affected by the recent pandemic and recession caused by the coronavirus. How will it impact you? For those buyers or sellers not in any hurry to act, you can hold off until we get the epidemic under control. However, if you were in the midst of relocation plans, this certainly complicates those plans. your situation. So what’s the best way to proceed if you fall under this second category? Clearly, this is such a very personal, family decision… but here are some tips that we hope will help as you fully consider your options.
Options for Selling During Coronavirus
Move Ahead with the Sale
If you are in a hurry to make the move, whether it is to another county, state or country or simply an upsizing or downsizing of your home, you should do it. As of this writing, the Oahu real estate market is still fairly active. Buyers are quite eager to take advantage of the record low mortgage interest rates, which helps to lower their monthly payments. As Paul Brewbaker, former Chief Economist for Bank of Hawaii, put it in a recent webinar, buyer affordability has never been this good. During the first week of March, mortgage loan applications spiked, reaching their highest number since April 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
While there are sellers who have decided to put a pause on their sale, and Brokers holding off on doing open houses, properties are still being listed daily and some sellers who choose to proceed are typically allowing limited, private showings to healthy buyers and agents. The various counties and the State of Hawaii have implemented a work from home order for nonessential workers; however professional services, including legal, accounting, real estate, and other services are exempt from this requirement. What is now becoming the new norm are enhanced safety practices, virtual staging, virtual showings, and video tours. As with the holiday season, the buyers who are continuing their search may find that less competition is a good thing.
Postpone the Sale
If you are not subject to a timeline or don’t want to incur risk with flying to your new location (Hawaii is now under mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals, making travel to and from the islands untenable), then it makes perfect sense to hold off on selling amidst this voluntary quarantine period. Historically, summer is the best time of year to sell since you have the biggest pool of buyers. While there are no promises that the real estate market will be back to norm then, hopefully the worst of the outbreak behind us, economic confidence will have stabilized, and more buyers will be back shopping for homes. Hopefully the interest rates will still be in the low 3% range, but even if it goes up a little higher, it should remain historically low.
In the Military or DOD?
You are likely aware that the Pentagon recently announced sweeping changes for all troops, including PCS moves. The government has halted domestic travel, PCS moves, and temporary assignments. This will be in effect now through May 11, which is over 30 days. Additionally, starting March 20, service members, their families and DOD civilian workers have been restricted on how they can move about the U.S. and its territories. This action was approved by Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist.
So if you fall in this category, the decision has been primarily made for you, at least for the time being. Industry talk is that if the United States is on the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid – May and the government allows the PCS moves to resume, then our Hawaii real estate market should see a surge of activity then. I personally have military sellers proceeding
with their listing, because they prefer not to be in “rush mode” and could be made to leave rather quickly after May 11th. Since it is at least a two-month process to sell, they would like to take their time and list now versus later. Again, it is a personal choice.
What’s the Right Call?
I hope this helps with your upcoming decisions about selling. If you’d like to discuss the pros and cons in greater detail, (via a phone conference of course), feel free to contact me, Cathy Possedi.
Cathy Possedi is a REALTOR, CRS, SRS, MRP, SFR with Hawai’i Life. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at (808) 728-5696.