DENVER (CBS4)– The state announced on Monday that in-person home showings are not considered an essential service during the coronavirus pandemic, but real estate is essential and realtors want people to know that transactions are still happening.
“Nowadays don’t just happen via title companies anymore. They’re occurring via remote notaries and curbside closings and you’re signing papers in your car and handing them back,” said Matthew Leprino, Broker and Owner of The Ridgewood Company and Spokesperson for the Colorado Association of REALTORS.
The Colorado Association of REALTORS (CAR) looks at market trends from across the state on a monthly basis and says while fears amid COVID-19 have changed things, the market could still bounce back.
“March-April is really our highest inventory and really our craziest time of the year and so we’re going to have an artificial peak, I hope, as soon as this is over,” he said.
While the “artificial peak” in inventory, along with rising unemployment, could cause property values to decline, Leprino sees a silver lining.
“Real estate is continuing to transact. There are still transactions that are occurring. There’s a lot of folks who are virtually looking at homes and placing offers on them.”
While he wouldn’t recommend buying a home this way, the fact that people are still looking is the reason he is keeping his own home on the market.
“We’ve opted to keep our home on the market through this process because a lot of folks are doing what they did prior to COVID-19- they’re shopping for homes on their phone and the more properties that are on the market that are showing that, I don’t know, I don’t think that can hurt against you.”
While Leprino is constantly analyzing market trends, it’s been tough to sell even his own home.
“It was the first day on the market it was under contract everything was ready to go and after a month or so, unfortunately the individual’s assets changed and they could no longer qualify for their loan and so they had to terminate.”
It’s something he is seeing more and more of. Mortgage lenders pressing the pause button. This he says, is one of many things contributing to a decline in closings.
“Closings last week, just last week, Monday through Friday, 252. The previous year it was 274 so that was actually 8.7% less so it’s not crazy like I think a lot of people are thinking it’s going to be.”
But he believes a lot remains to be seen. Many of the closings are occurring are from homes that went under contract in February and more people around the metro area have pulled listings than ever before.
For comparison the report found that 284 homes were withdrawn in January of 2020.
“Here’s how I look at that. I think when you calculate how many properties are being taken off the market, it leaves out the greater picture and that is, how many of those are going to come back on the market? Right? As soon as people are okay with their homes being shown again, how many of those properties are going to come right back on the market?”
He says it’s hard to predict what the anticipated influx of inventory will do to the market. He believes if restrictions stay in place through the end of the spring and into the summer market, a critical time for sales, property values will take a hit.
Overall, Leprino says it’s impossible to forecast mainly because there is no precedent for for what the market is going through.
“So showings numbers and the amount of closings for March were statistically the same as March of 2019; however, that shows that properties went under contract in February so I think next month, we’re really going to see the true impact of what March did once we can compare and contrast see how many properties that went under contract in March that were supposed to close in April.”