Worried About the Future? You’re Not Alone. (COVID-19 Survey Results)

While the United States has seen its share of health crises over the years, COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on the way people live, with no clear indication of how long our lives will continue to be impacted. Hence, it’s not surprising that in a recent survey* I conducted, ‘unsure of the future in general’ was the top answer to the question ‘What do you feel, either for yourself or for people in general, are the top 3 reasons why Coronavirus is affecting real estate?’, with 76% of respondents choosing this as one of their top reasons.

I conducted this survey to help decipher for myself the barrage of information I receive, from both the real estate industry and general news media, about how COVID-19 is changing plans people had to buy or sell residential real estate. However, I feel the results of the survey give some insight into how many of us feel in general about the sudden change we’ve all experienced in the way we work, shop, interact and learn since the beginning of the year.

On the question noted above, asking why people may feel COVID-19 is affecting real estate, regardless of whether or not the respondent had plans themselves to buy or sell real estate, three answers stood out. Besides ‘unsure of the future in general’ (76%)‘layoffs / job furloughs’ (68%) and ‘stay at home orders’ (48%) were the top responses. While no other response was chosen by more than 28%, every possible response was chosen by at least one person. With record low residential property inventory being an issue in many areas across the country for quite some time, it’s interesting to note that ‘lack of houses on the market for buyers’ was the least chosen response. So, for now at least, it appears that COVID-19 worries clearly surpasses typical real estate industry issues in many people’s minds.

Here is a look at all of the responses:

76% unsure of the future in general
68% layoffs / job furloughs
48% stay at home orders
28% using savings for other necessities
28% wanting to stay home to reduce risk of exposure
16% other
12% lack of buyers for people trying to sell
8% tighter lending restrictions
4% lack of houses on the market for buyers
0% I don’t think Coronavirus is having any effect on real estate
 (Okay, so there was one option that no one chose!)

Among the reasons given by those who chose ‘other’ were: 

“Many people suffered significant losses in the stock market. The money they may have had available in 2019 is no longer available. Taking any money out now, would seal the deal in terms of ever getting that money back when the market does come back.”

“Don’t want to over-spend on a home that (may) lose value over the next years. Happened to me in 2008.”

“I am hoping prices drop to a reasonable fee.”

“adding debt that will need to be paid during this”

More specifically on the topic of real estate, the survey asked ‘If you planned to have a residential real estate transaction this year, has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your plans?’. For 44% of respondents, this question was not applicable. Among those for whom the question applied, the majority are either undecided on what to do or have decided to wait until 2021 to complete their transaction, with each answer receiving 36%. Roughly a quarter of respondents feel they will be involved in a real estate transaction this year, with 14% choosing ‘Yes. I had planned a transaction for early 2020 but I am delaying that until later in the year’ and another 14% choosing ‘My transaction should take place as scheduled before the end of the year’.

Here is a recap of the responses of those for whom this question was applicable:

36% Yes. I had planned a transaction for 2020 but I will probably wait until 2021
36% I am undecided on what to do
14% My transaction should take place as scheduled before the end of the year
14% I had planned a transaction for early 2020 but I am delaying that until later in the year
0% I already completed my transaction
0% Other

The real estate industry, like so many others, is adapting to new ways of conducting business. Yes, there are still houses coming on the market, and there are still people buying homes. Of course, there are a variety of new rules and regulations in place, to ensure the safety and health of those involved in real estate transactions. These rules vary based on where you live, and they are constantly evolving. As the saying goes, This too shall pass, and life will eventually return to normal, although it may not be the same normal as we had prior to 2020. Having conducted this survey I feel I have a better understanding what is truly on people’s minds. I understand that many people are dealing with much bigger issues than real estate. However, for those who still plan to / need to buy or sell residential real estate, even during these trying times, the real estate market continues to move forward.


Top image credit: Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

[I have strived to keep politics out of this article, and I ask that you refrain from bringing politics into this discussion in your comments. Thank you.]

Richard Slifkin, Broker/Realtor®
Highgarden Real Estate
Cell: 704-658-5352
Email: RSlifkin@highgarden.com

Real Estate Website: RichardIsMyAgent.com
Facebook: @RichardSlifkinRealtor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/…
Twitter: @RealtorRS
Instagram: @Richard_Sli

Serving the Lake Norman and Charlotte, NC Area, including: China Grove, Concord, Cornelius, Davidson, Denver, Huntersville, Landis, Kannapolis, Mooresville, Salisbury, Sherrills Ford, Statesville and Troutman.

*Survey methodology:
The survey was created using the eSurvey Creator website. The survey link was distributed to an unknown number of individuals nationwide with responses tracked between April 29, 2020 and May 10, 2020. The survey link was distributed directly by email to approximately 75 people with whom I have had previous contact with, who have indicated a previous interest in real estate. The survey link was also distributed via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to an unknown number of individuals. A total of 25 responses were received from the survey. While the question ‘What do you feel, either for yourself or for people in general, are the top 3 reasons why Coronavirus is affecting real estate?’ asked for respondents to choose three out of 10 possible options, there was no limit on the options a respondent could choose and some may have chosen either more or less than three. The question ‘If you planned to have a residential real estate transaction this year, has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your plans?’ was limited to one answer/option per respondent.

March 2020 Charlotte Area Real Estate Market Report: COVID-19 Impact

I’m writing this article with some hesitation, as I realize for many, dealing with furloughs/layoffs, closed businesses, children home from school, grocery store item shortages, and many other worries, there are more important issues going on than what’s happening in the real estate market. However, as a professional real estate agent, it is my responsibility to provide this information to those who may need it. Real estate transactions have not, and will not, cease. There are those who, for a wide variety of reasons, must either sell their home or buy a home at any given time, even during these rough times.

For those that have been directly affected by COVID-19, either medically, financially or in any other way, know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Credit: NC Department of Health and Human Services

As the timeline below shows, North Carolina’s first case of COVID-19 was reported on March 3rd, and the Governor declared a state of emergency on March 10th. The statewide stay at home order was issued March 27th, taking effect on March 30th. While the Coronavirus issue was known prior to the beginning of the month, for North Carolina and the majority of the country the seriousness was not recognized until later in the month. Thus, most real estate transactions which had been scheduled in March took place as scheduled. The true affect of the stay at home order and social distancing guidelines will not be reflected in the monthly market report until the April report is released. The March market report is below the timeline.

The COVID-19 timeline in North Carolina:

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020

  • Governor Cooper announces the creation of the Governor’s Novel Coronavirus Task Force to continue the coordination among state, local and federal partners. The Task Force formalizes the state’s ongoing efforts to monitor, prepare for and respond to the 2019 novel COVID-19.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

  • The Governor’s Novel Coronavirus Task Force announces a North Carolina individual has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

  • Governor Cooper declares a state of emergency to to coordinate response and protective actions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

  • Governor Cooper issues Executive Order 117 to limit the spread of COVID-19. The order bans mass gatherings of more than 100 people across the state. It also closes K-12 public schools across the state beginning Monday, March 16 through March 30, unless extended. 

Tuesday, March 17

  • Gov. Roy Cooper issues an executive order to close sit-down service at restaurants and bars and makes state unemployment benefits more widely available.

Thursday, March 19

  • Gov. Roy Cooper announces a person in Wilson County tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first time a positive case of COVID-19 is due to community spread. Community spread occurs when people have been infected with the virus and it’s unclear how they were exposed to it. 

Monday, March 23

  • Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 120, which closes K-12 public schools statewide through May 15, bans mass gatherings of more than 50 people and closes gyms, movie theaters, sweepstakes parlors, health clubs and other similar facilities. 

Wednesday, March 25

  • NCDHHS reports the first COVID-19 associated deaths.

Friday, March 27

  • Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 121, a statewide stay at home order beginning Monday, March 30 at 5 p.m. until April 29, 2020. The executive order directs people to stay at home except to visit essential businesses, to exercise outdoors or to help a family member. Specifically, the order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to physically stay at least 6 feet apart from others. 

March 2020 Market Report for Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Rowan Counties:

HIGHLIGHTS:

The number of NEW LISTINGS in March 2020 compared to March 2019 were up in Cabarrus, (+1.1%), Gaston (+13.5%) and Rowan (+17%), while they were down in Iredell (-2.2%) and Mecklenburg (-3.8%).

CLOSED SALES compared to March 2019 also posted mixed results, with the number of closing increasing in Gaston (+12.%), Iredell (+12.7%) and Mecklenburg (+7.7%), while decreasing in Cabarrus (-6.6%) and Rowan (-2.4%).

AVERAGE SALES PRICES continued their upward trend across the board, led with the highest percentage increase by Iredell (+21.1% to $350,778), followed by Gaston (+16% to $239,827), Cabarrus (+8% to $285,760), Rowan (+7.6% to $179,005) and Mecklenburg (+6.3% to $353,422).

MONTHS SUPPLY OF INVENTORY also continued their drastic trend of much lower levels compared to March 2019, led also by Iredell (-38.9% to 2.2 months), followed closely by Mecklenburg (-38.1% to 1.3 months). Cabarrus (-30% to 1.4 months) and Rowan (-27.6% to 2.1 months) were also down considerably, while Gaston was down 15% to 1.7 months.

ANALYSIS:

From the Canopy Realtor Association March 2020 report: “March stock market declines and volatility across all the financial markets, massive layoffs, lenders tightening underwriting standards, and social distancing efforts will all combine to put some buyers and sellers on the sidelines for now. As the spread and effect of COVID-19 accelerated during the month, we will need to wait until next month to see the total impact to buyer and seller activity.”

With the combination of lenders tightening lending standards, stay at home orders and job furloughs / layoffs, I anticipate fewer buyers will be in a position to make a purchase in April and in the months to come. However, many sellers put their houses on the market because of a specific need to do so, which in some cases may not be able to be delayed. I am hopeful that this may lead to a stabilizing of inventory levels in the coming months (new listings on the market with fewer buyers competing for them). However, with inventory levels as they are I would not anticipate prices making a steep decline, although they will hopefully taper in the short term. It would be foolish to speculate beyond the next few months, as the full extent of the effects of the Coronavirus will have on the local, national and international economy are currently unknown.


Coronavirus Cases in North Carolina:

Information regarding the number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, from the NCDHHS (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services) website, as of 4/15/2020:

AreaCases*Deaths**
Cabarrus County1903
Gaston County863
Iredell County712
Mecklenburg County99314
Rowan County2013
Statewide5024108
*Laboratory-Confirmed Cases reflect cases that were tested and returned positive, including the NC State Laboratory of Public Health and reporting hospital and commercial labs. All data are preliminary. Not all cases of COVID-19 are tested, so this does not represent the total number of people in North Carolina who have or had COVID-19.
**Deaths reflect deaths in persons with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 reported by local health departments to the NC Department of Health and Human Services

Stay at Home Orders:

Counties with their own specific Stay at Home Order, which in some instances may be more restrictive than the state order, either for real estate agent activities and/or residents in general:

Mecklenburg County (Charlotte, Huntersville, Cornelius) – CLICK HERE TO VIEW

Cabarrus County (Concord, Kannapolis) – CLICK HERE TO VIEW

Gaston County (Gastonia) – CLICK HERE TO VIEW

Counties following the State Stay at Home order: – CLICK HERE TO VIEW

Iredell County (Mooresville, Statesville)

Rowan County (Kannapolis, Salisbury, China Grove)


Follow me on social media at the links below for updates and additional information, as it becomes available.


Richard Slifkin, Broker/Realtor®
Highgarden Real Estate
Cell: 704-658-5352
Email: RSlifkin@highgarden.com

Real Estate Website: RichardIsMyAgent.com
Facebook: @RichardSlifkinRealtor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/…
Twitter: @RealtorRS
Instagram: @Richard_Sli

Serving the Lake Norman and Charlotte, NC Area, including: China Grove, Concord, Cornelius, Davidson, Denver, Huntersville, Landis, Kannapolis, Mooresville, Salisbury, Sherrills Ford, Statesville and Troutman.

March and first quarter home sales across the Charlotte region still positive; impact of COVID-19 on housing market remains to be seen

(4/7/2020) The following is a press release from The Canopy Realtor® Association, which provides monthly reports on residential real estate market activity for the Charlotte Metro region based on data from Canopy MLS (Multiple Listing Service). The Charlotte Metro region, which this report is based on, includes 12 counties in North Carolina and four counties in South Carolina.

-Richard Slifkin

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –  As COVID-19 and an impending economic crisis began impacting the U.S. housing market, the 16-county Charlotte housing market continued its run of positive gains in both home sales and prices in March.  According to data from Canopy MLS, year-over-year home sales rose 5.5 percent with 4,254 homes sold in March 2020.  Compared to sales in February 2020, sales rose 35.3 percent with 1,110 more properties sold in March than February.

Pending contract activity declined 2.8 percent year-over-year with 4,798 contracts written this past month.  Contract activity, which signifies buyer demand, also fell 1.8 percent compared to pending contract activity in February. However, when looking at first quarter 2020 contract activity compared to first quarter 2019, pending contracts increased 7.3 percent.  

The average list price in March fell slightly and was down 1.3 percent year-over-year to $350,430. Compared to February it was down 1.2 percent. Both the average sales price ($315,243) and median sales price ($271,500) saw gains of 8.7 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively. Compared to the previous month, the average sales price was up 3.5 percent, while the median sales price rose 3.4 percent. Sellers are still getting most of their original asking price, as the original list price to sales price ratio increased 0.6 percent to 97.3 percent in March.

2020 Canopy Realtor® Association/Canopy MLS President John Kindbom notes, “First quarter housing activity showed that the Charlotte region was poised for a strong start to the spring selling season. Unfortunately, we will not know the impact of COVID-19 on the local housing market until April’s data is available. We are hopeful that this crisis will not linger long into the summer months, as there are buyers still trying to purchase homes and sellers interested in selling.”

New listings rose modestly in March and were up 1.8 percent over last year with 5,933 properties listed.  Compared to the previous month, new listings were up 26.6 percent.  Inventory continued to fall and was down 25.3 percent year-over-year, and the region continues to experience strong seller’s market conditions with 7,454 homes available for sale at report time. The 16-county region currently has 1.7 months of supply, compared to 2.5 months of supply last March.

Days on Market, the metric that accrues for “Active” and “Under Contract-Show” statuses, average 45 days in March 2020 compared to 51 days in March 2019. The average number of days a property was on the market from the time it was listed until it closed (list to close) was 95 days.


Follow me on social media at the links below for updates and additional information, as it becomes available.


Richard Slifkin, Broker/Realtor®
Highgarden Real Estate
Cell: 704-658-5352
Email: RSlifkin@highgarden.com

Real Estate Website: RichardIsMyAgent.com
Facebook: @RichardSlifkinRealtor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/…
Twitter: @RealtorRS

Serving the Lake Norman and Charlotte, NC Area, including: China Grove, Concord, Cornelius, Davidson, Denver, Huntersville, Landis, Kannapolis, Mooresville, Salisbury, Sherrills Ford, Statesville and Troutman.

Are we running out of homes to sell?!?

If you have been paying any attention to the real estate market, you have likely heard the phrase ‘low inventory’ used a lot lately. The January 2020 Charlotte Area Market Report takes low inventory to a new level, with inventory down 28.1% compared to January 2019. Inventory in the Charlotte region ended the first month of the new year at just 1.6 months – the lowest it’s been in more than 15 years (see chart below).

DEFINITION: Months Supply of Inventory: A calculation showing how many months it would take to burn through all of the homes currently available for sale at the current rate, if new homes stopped entering the market. Generally, if the months supply is less than 4 months, it gives the sellers an advantage (Seller’s Market), and if the supply is over 6 months, it gives buyers the advantage (Buyer’s Market).

The January report for both Mooresville and Concord followed the trend for the Charlotte region as a whole, with inventory down 37.1% and 43.5% in those towns, respectively. While Mooresville had a slight increase in new listings compared to January 2019 (+2.8%) and Concord had slightly fewer new listings (-3.1%), both towns had a much more significant increase in pending and closed sales, leading to the steep drops in inventory.

As expected, the decrease in inventory is continuing to lead to price increases. The median sales price in Mooresville was up 9.6% to $302,500, while the median in Concord was up 13.6% to $250,000.

There are two things I highly recommend for buyers in the current market:

Continue reading “Are we running out of homes to sell?!?”

Will the Charlotte Area Continue to Grow this Decade?

Charlotte, NC skyline

WASHINGTON (12/2019) – The National Association of Realtors® identified 10 markets expected to outperform over the next three to five years. In alphabetical order, the markets are:

  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Ogden, Utah
  • Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida

“Some markets are clearly positioned for exceptional longer-term performance due to their relative housing affordability combined with solid local economic expansion,” said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Drawing new residents from other states will also further stimulate housing demand in these markets, but this will create upward price pressures as well, especially if demand is not met by increasing supply.”

Continue reading “Will the Charlotte Area Continue to Grow this Decade?”