October 2020 Housing Market

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The first full month of Autumn continued the record breaking trends of this unprecedented year. From the Country-wide outlook, down to our narrow Southeastern Wisconsin vantage point, October 2020 was a profitable month for real estate.

Existing-home sales continued to trend upward in October, marking five consecutive months of month-over-month gains, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All four major regions reported both month-over-month and year-over-year growth, with the Midwest experiencing the greatest monthly increases.”

Quintin Simmons, NAR

The Metro-Milwaukee Multiple Listing Service, aka MetroMLS, elaborated on this atypically active market.

October continued to be busier than the calendar normally suggests. Buyer activity remains higher than normal for this time of year, while in many segments of the market housing supply remains much lower than one year ago. Multiple offers remain a common occurrence in many areas, keeping housing hot while the temperatures continue to fall.
New Listings in the Milwaukee region increased 9.1 percent to 2,068. Pending Sales were down 42.1 percent to 872. Inventory levels fell 5.4 percent to 3,535 units.
Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 10.2 percent to $255,000. Days on Market was down 28.6 percent to 25 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months’ Supply of Inventory was down 4.3 percent to 2.2 months.
Mortgage rates dropped to new record lows again in October, helping to offset the monthly mortgage payment increases caused by the rise in home prices seen in many segments of the market across the country. While prices often dip a bit in the winter months, continued buyer demand may temper any price retreats this year.

Monthly Indicators by MetroMLS

The Local Market Reports below, created by MetroMLS & ShowingTime, back up these claims with real numbers. Clearly, October 2020 was one for the books. While the number of new listings in Kenosha County were down, in comparison to 2019, there were more new listings for both Walworth and Racine Counties. Regardless, the tri-county area (Walworth Kenosha & Racine Counties) saw double digit percentage increases in closed sales and median sales prices.

Personally, I had several closings that initially went under contract at the end of summer (August/September), and one quick close. Typically, once school starts, the number of buyers requesting showings substantially decreases, but not so much this year. Yes, I am technically less active than I was in say July, but this market has remained competitive, long past the normal time frame.

Sellers: I implore you to investigate for yourself. Look at the statistics, you can find them everywhere: it is an exceptional sellers market. Assess your long term goals and act accordingly, because no one knows how much longer the housing market will remain so heavily in your favor. Specifically, as we head into Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, be aware that #1: nothing is more welcoming than a home decorated for the holidays, and #2: the buyers that are still looking right now are very serious.

Buyers: there are more of you actively looking to purchase real estate right now; be prepared to offer your ‘highest and best,’ but stay firm in your financial morals. If you feel more comfortable having a financing contingency and a home inspection, then include them in your offer–whether or not your offer is accepted, you still have to sleep at night.

One truth that remains forever true: holiday season means the year is almost over. This year has been full of lessons, but my biggest take away was: preparedness. Having goals and strategies are essential to financial health, but real security is only achievable by flexibility. Feel free to reach out and ask if you need anything. Stay well,

ANNIE ZAMBITO
LICENSED REAL ESTATE AGENT
KEEFE REAL ESTATE  |  LAKE GENEVA, WI 53147
PHONE 262.348.3253   |   262.215.1982
EMAIL   azambito@keeferealestate.com  |  anniezrealty@gmail.com
OFFICE   262.248.4492  |  www.keeferealestate.com    



Sources:

Existing-Home Sales Jump 4.3% to 6.85 Million in October by Quintin Simmons of NAR

Monthly Indicators by MetroMLS

Local Market Reports by MetroMLS & ShowingTime

Weekly Update – Walworth Co

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Real Estate Market

Mid May, 2020

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:

Walworth County New Listings in Last 7 Days

Sold in Walworth Co in the Last 7 Days


OTHER INFO            

01. How long does coronavirus last on different surfaces? See CDC’s answer here.

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.

03. WI Business Owners: Here are the Reopen Guidelines for you!

I see recovery written all over the data coming out, what about you? Are my glasses too rose-tinted? I want to hear what YOU think! Reach out, let me know. Stay healthy… ❤ ALWAYS, Annie Z.

ANNIE ZAMBITO
LICENSED REAL ESTATE AGENT    |    KEEFE REAL ESTATE
PHONE 262.348.3253   |   262.215.1982
EMAIL azambito@keeferealestate.com  |  anniezrealty@gmail.com


Sources:

©2020 ShowingTime

Copyright 2020 by Multiple Listing Service, Inc

March 2020 Real Estate Report

The Effect of COVID-19 on Our Housing Market

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.


Here’s what our Metro Milwaukee MLS stated in their Monthly Indicators introduction:

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.

Metro Milwaukee MLS ‘Monthly Indicators Report’ © 2020

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).

ShowingTime Target Market Analysis 2019 Showings for LG-Delavan-WB
ShowingTime Target Market Analysis 2020 Showings for LG-Delavan-WB

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.


My Takeaways

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.

Stay safe & healthy ❤ , Annie Z.


ANNIE ZAMBITO
LICENSED REAL ESTATE AGENT
KEEFE REAL ESTATE  |  LAKE GENEVA, WI 53147
PHONE 262.348.3253   |   262.215.1982
EMAIL   azambito@keeferealestate.com  |  anniezrealty@gmail.com
OFFICE   262.248.4492  |  www.keeferealestate.com    


Sources:

Metro Milwaukee MLS: 10K Market Indicator Reports & Local Market Update © 2020

‘Safer at Home’ & Safer At Home Order Extended

CDC guidelines on how to protect yourself

ShowingTime: The Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate Showings

CARES act