In the past week, I’ve had 2 closings, wrote 3 offers (1 was accepted), and scheduled 20 showings. Spring is definitely here! Sellers are accepting offers within days of listing their property’s on the market, as per usual this time of year.
…That being said, the elephant in the room remains… There is no way to avoid the trickle-down effect of Coronavirus on the housing market. Here are how showings have been effected in Walworth County, in a side by side comparison of the last 30 days compared to the same date range (4/13 to 5/13) last year, courtesy of ShowingTime.
Here is the Market Summary from the MLS for April 2020 vs. April 2019:
Despite less showings, home sales are only down 2.7% compared to last April. What’s significant here is the drop in new listings. You know what this means? Less Competition! We are still in a “sellers’ market.” There are simply not as many homes on the market as there are ready, willing and able buyers to purchase them. This has been the case for over a decade.
POTENTIAL SELLERS: When it comes to showings & property tours, seller’s can reduce risk of covid-19 exposure by:
1) Leaving lights on so no one else has to touch switches.
2) Require all visiting parties to sign a covid-19 disclosure release form before providing access information.
3) Mandate gloves and masks to be worn by all visiting parties.
Potential Home Buyers – If this quarantine has you hating your home, and you’re ready to move: fear not! There are options:
1) Get a pre-approval FIRST! You don’t want to waste your time in a space you cannot afford.
2) Get on an automatic MLS search that sends you homes that match your criteria as SOON as they hit the market.
3) Take a Virtual Tour first, and THEN see it in person – with gloves and mask – before writing an offer. try zoom or google duo
Follow these links to see the new listings and just sold properties:
02. WHAT YOU LISTEN TO MATTERS: My favorite podcast is “Afford Anything,” by Paula Pant. Her PSA Thursday episode on May 7th had an interesting synopsis of the current state of our national real estate market. Take a listen by following this link.
In the last 30 days, I’ve showed 41 properties. I have 2 closings on Friday, one of which is a co-listing of mine, the other is for a buyer. I have also written 2 offers, but neither made it under contract. Currently, according to the Metro-Milwauke Multiple Listing Service, there are 700 active single family and condominium homes listed in Walworth County; 164 of them are under contract, and 54 were just listed this week. Additionally, 33 homes and condos sold in the last 7 days, as well. According to ShowingTime, there were 339 showings scheduled this week, as compared to 301 showings last week.
Follow these links to see the new listings and just sold properties:
There’s no doubt things are picking up, as far as showings go; the problem that remains is lack of inventory. Buyer’s are out there – more than you would think. If you’re on the fence, I’m here to tell you the time has come! If you’re concerned about your safety, be aware that there are COVID-19 consent forms available, and you can require buyers and agents to wear gloves and masks. I have even been to a showing where I was told to wipe down anything the buyer touches with a lysol wipe – not a problem! If anything were ever a way to increase buyer demand, it’s quarantine. People are getting antsy.
Here’s a graphical breakdown of our showings, as well as a preview to the past month’s market summary, with a year over year comparison:
Like I said, clearly there are just less homes on the market (which makes sense, given everything that’s going on). In Walworth County, Active Listings are down 14.1%, and New Listings are down 15.3%. However, the number of closings/homes sold is only down 2.7%. What does this mean? It indicates buyers are still buying homes, despite there being less to chose from. We’ll see what the metro-MLS says when their Monthly Indicators report comes out in a few days.
Friday, April 24th marked 30 full days under WI Governor Evers’ Safer At Home Order, where all non-essential businesses were forced to close their doors in alignment with our nation’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. While real estate is considered an essential business, there’s no denying we have been impacted.
The Impact of 30 Days of “Safer at Home” in Walworth County:
From March 25th to April 24th, 2020, there have been 892 showings in Walworth County. Last year, during the same time frame, there were 1,769 showings. That’s a 50% drop in the number of property showings. Granted this number includes all types of property showings (from condos and single-family homes to commercial property and vacant land). Here’s a graphical breakdown for more clarity:
That being said, week over week, things are looking up. This past week (4/18 – 4/24) we had 242 showings, where as the previous week (4/11 – 4/17) there were 190 showings. Since a property takes anywhere between 30 to 60 days or more to close after accepting an offer, the overall effect on home sales is yet to be determined. However, so far, closings have only dropped to 92% of last years levels. Last year there were 113 single family homes sold in Walworth County from March 25th to April 24th, 2019. This year, from March 25th to April 24th, 103 single family homes have sold. Follow this link to see the listings: Sold in the Last 30 Days
On April 16th, WI Gov. Evers extended the stay-at-home order to May 26th. With that in mind, I thought it would be a great time to offer some spring maintenance tasks and projects to tackle while folks are still stuck in the house.
Springtime Home Maintenance Tasks
Clean out your gutters and downspouts
Pressure wash your siding
Inspect your roof & foundation – schedule repairs
Trim/Prune your bushes and shrubs
Schedule air conditioner cleaning
Clean your windows
Check for/repair holes in window screens
Paint your house – inside and out!
Switch out winter clothes for spring/summer clothes – don’t forget to make donation piles!
Spray insecticide along windows and doors, and remove bee hives!
Bonus Projects: Paint old tables, hang photos, add more greenery indoors!
Slowly but surely, things are improving. As long as we each continue to do our part to stay healthy, we will make it out of this. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything – groceries, vendor contacts, or even just someone to talk to. I’m here!!
The Metro-Milwaukee MLS (Multiple Listing Service) gathers real estate stats for each month, and compile data points into easily digestible graphs for real estate professionals and consumers alike. Additionally, they highlight recent events to provide a comprehensive real estate market report. I’ve included the portions of their March 2020 report, released April 10th, that pertain to our hyper-local market here in Southeastern Wisconsin.
Also, I’ve included some data released by ShowingTime, which is the showing scheduling tool used by nearly a million real estate professionals in over 250 MLS’s, for some additional insight to the impact of the current COVID-19 crisis. The information provided by ShowingTime is in real time and nationwide, to provide a more up-to-date, wider vantage point.
As COVID-19’s impact spread across the country in March, the stock market declines started in February accelerated downward before recovering a bit in the last week of the month. With volatility across all the financial markets, lenders began tightening underwriting standards and some buyers found they no longer were approved for a loan. Massive layoffs also shook the economy with 6.6 million initial jobless claims filed in a single week—double the number last week and ten times higher than any other week on record prior to this month.
[…] While the effect of COVID-19 is varied throughout the country, we are likely to see impacts to housing activity now and into the coming months. Its continued spread is leading many companies and consumers to change their daily activities.
The Local Market Update, showed some interesting trends. Compared to March 2019, Walworth County had 6.5% fewer new listings (200 vs. 219), but 5.1% more closings (124 vs. 118) AND a nearly 20% increase in median sales price ($268,450 vs. $224,000). Additionally, days on market (until sale) have gone down 16.1% (78 days vs. 93 days). Zooming into my local area, the Lake Geneva/Delavan/Williams Bay area, things went a bit differently. We saw 26.7% more new listings, but 10.5% less closings in March 2020, compared to March 2019. However, there was a substantial 42.2% rise in median sales price AND a 28.3% decrease in days on market!
What does this mean for Walworth County? Well, logically, given the current pandemic, less sellers put their homes up for sale; however, more sellers sold their homes, for more money, and in less time, this March compared to last.
While our local market (LG-Delavan-WB) is so small that the numbers are often not an accurate depiction of the market at whole, the increase in median sales price for March 2020 compared to last year was seen across our tri-county area. Call me a Pollyanna (I’ve been called worse), but this makes me optimistic.
Next, let’s check out how property showings have been… infected. Governor Evers declared that real estate is an “essential business” allowed to continue operations, despite his ‘Safer at Home’ order (recently extended to May 26th). This makes sense to most, given that we need a home in order to abide by said order.
That being said, many of my buyer clients have been laid off, others have had significant cuts in their pay, and a handful even had to close their business doors, as a result of this order. I honestly feel guilty going on showings, with my few remaining buyers, given the financial hardships facing my other clients, friends & family members.
Side Note: I wear gloves to every showing, and make my buyers follow suit. If the home is owner-occupied, we also wear masks. Follow this link for CDC guidelines on how to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Sellers, similarly, are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Many brokerages are sending out COVID-19 consent forms for the agent and buyer(s) to sign, certifying he/she is not sick, has not tested positive, or come in contact with someone who has tested positive… but there is no denying the fear remains.
As a reminder, this virus went ‘pandemic’ status Wednesday, March 11th. ShowingTime has accumulated data across over 250 national MLS’s and published The Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate Showings, and the graphs speak for themselves. According to ShowingTime, showings are down 58.4% nationally, and down 37.8% in Wisconsin, compared to this time last year (charts created 4/16/2020).
The two charts above breakdown our local market showings by price point. Please take note of the scale along the bottom. There number of showings have decreased by the hundreds in the past month alone.
I have done many ‘virtual showings,’ and a ‘virtual open house,’ but it’s not the same. Buying a home is often the largest, or one of the largest, purchase one makes in their lifetime – would you be comfortable buying a home you haven’t seen with your own two eyes? Without stepping foot inside your new home until you’ve left the closing table? I wouldn’t, but that’s just me.
I could understand, for example, a multi-family property investor putting an offer on a home, sight unseen, if what they primarily seek is an occupied, income producing rental property. Furthermore, a few years ago, I was part of a transaction where the buyer had a job transfer, and was not able to see the property he purchased in person beforehand. Regardless, these are not regarded as optimal property purchase scenarios. Different, but not preferred.
Overall, I have never more content living here in Wisconsin, an hour away from any major metropolitan city, without public transportation. Post-pandemic, I do think more people will be moving out to the countryside. However, this virus has clearly impacted real estate. The long term effects of the CARES act and mortgage forbearance have yet to be revealed. We must stay vigilant with our finances, now more than ever.
I’ve been using my free time at home to stay in tune with our local and national real estate markets, as well as the overall economy. We will recover from this, eventually, if we all do our part. Remain at home, if you can; take precautions, if you can’t. We are all in this together.
It has been four full weeks since the President announced COVID-19 was officially a pandemic disease infecting people around the globe (see video that aired on March 11, 2020 here). The word ‘quarantine’ has officially become part of my daily vernacular, and fear of the unknown has spread like wildfire. From the economy to our school systems and interpersonal relationships: everyone’s day-to-day life has been impacted in one way or another. There are those that argue the changes taking place will be for the better in the long run, but there is no denying the pain and hardship this pandemic has caused to the majority of people.
I find myself obsessing over this virus’ short and long term psychological impact. After all, that was my major in college (graduated in 2009 from Marquette University). Specifically, I recall Erik Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development. According to this theory, personality is determined by how he or she deals with life’s many crises. We should all recognize, there is one guarantee in life: change. The way in which one assesses, and subsequently deals with, the inevitable changes of life over the ceaseless forward motion of time determines a person’s personality.
His theory helps illuminate and clarify how an individual meets and processes intrinsic change and, by inference, may contribute to an understanding about whether or not an individual is able to rise to the task of making change for him-/her self in the world.
I’ve been watching the press conferences from the White House, taking vigorous notes while watching news on the stock market, and, obviously, I’m still active in the real estate market. Never before has the world been impacted like this, all at once. We’re all on the same playing field; everyone will look back and remember how they handled the Corona Virus Pandemic.
Memories of the months I spent analyzing psych research data, on behalf of Dr. Kristi Nielson, have resurfaced creating an insatiable hunger to hear how people are handling all of this, mentally and emotionally. My awesome nephew helped me create a google doc where I asked folks to tell me his/her three favorite and three least favorite things about the quarantine, anonymously. I wanted to point out a few, but I hope to get more responses (please feel free to submit your answers by following this link).
Least Favorite Things About Quarantine:
“This is very isolating for those with family issues or who depend on their friends for support.”
“Losing track of what day it is”
“craving routine & earning money”
“I do not have the patience to be a teacher”
Thank you for your honesty…
Favorite Things About Quarantine:
“More time with Online friends”
“I’m not the odd ball. Apparently my lifestyle has a name – quarantine!”
“Online school is a lot more student-led, and we can do things at our own pace.”
“seeing my coworkers MORE! due to virtual conference calls”
Submit your anonymous response here, and see what others are saying!
I sincerely hope you are being safe and staying healthy, during this uncertain time. Reach out if you need anything; I am here for you. I’d like to help in any way I can.
On that note, I’d like to point out some amazing local charities and opportunities that are rising up out of this disaster, in hopes it brings light to your day. Although we are physically separated, we are all in this together.
If there are any other organizations/opportunities that deserve a mention, please feel free to mention them below. Let’s finish this fight strong! And, again, please don’t hesitate to ask me for help – be it groceries, prescriptions, or just a phone call. I want to hear from you. I want to be there for you, in whatever way I can.
Wishing you and yours a safe and healthy Weekend in Wisco, across this great nation, and beautiful planet… ❤ , Annie Z.