Today (3/25) I just stopped by my office to grab a few items, and now it’s back home. I’ve already been working primarily from home for the last 2 weeks, and our office has been meeting through Zoom…but now it’s mandated. Washington state did NOT list Real Estate as an “essential service”. So Realtors are not able to show homes for the next 2+ weeks. 

Existing transactions can close, as escrow services are listed as an essential service, as well as financial services to fund the loans.

So what can Realtors and buyers and sellers do?

-Realtors can still technically write offers (electronic signatures) and work on transactions. So if a buyer has already seen a home, they can still write an offer and start the process of going under contract and start the loan process. Longer escrow will be required though since home inspections will have to wait until the shelter in place is lifted. 

-Active listings can remain on the market to keep the exposure and advertising going. At John L Scott Real Estate, we have added video tours or 3D virtual tours of just about all our active listings. This allows buyers a very good feel for the home and floor plan. So combined with a drive-by, some buyers may in fact still be comfortable writing an offer without going inside yet. 

-Some listings are going “temporarily off the market” as well. Clearly, some buyers and sellers are using this time to take a break from moving plans.

What does this mean for the Real Estate market in Bellingham and Whatcom County?

-Going into this epidemic, and even through today…the market has still been red hot. I was previously anticipating 5% appreciation this spring due to high demand, low inventory and low rates.

Today (3/25) I just stopped by my office to grab a few items, and now it’s back home. I’ve already been working primarily from home for the last 2 weeks, and our office has been meeting through Zoom…but now it’s mandated. Washington state did NOT list Real Estate as an “essential service”. So Realtors are not able to show homes for the next 2+ weeks. Existing transactions can close, as escrow services are listed as an essential service, as well as financial services to fund the loans. So what can Realtors and buyers and sellers do?-Realtors can still technically write offers (electronic signatures) and work on transactions. So if a buyer has already seen a home, they can still write an offer and start the process of going under contract and start the loan process. Longer escrow will be required though since home inspections will have to wait until the shelter in place is lifted. -Active listings can remain on the market to keep the exposure and advertising going. At John L Scott Real Estate, we have added video tours or 3D virtual tours of just about all our active listings. This allows buyers a very good feel for the home and floor plan. So combined with a drive-by, some buyers may in fact still be comfortable writing an offer without going inside yet. -Some listings are going “temporarily off the market” as well. Clearly, some buyers and sellers are using this time to take a break from moving plans.What does this mean for the Real Estate market in Bellingham and Whatcom County?-Going into this epidemic, and even through today…the market has still been red hot. I was previously anticipating 5% appreciation this spring due to high demand, low inventory and low rates.But obviously, it’s a new world now. Home sales will bedown for the next 2 months, and down for 2020 for sure now. But home sales being down, does not necessarily equate to lower home prices. No question home value are going to flatline and soften in some price ranges and areas. But we still have low inventory and many buyers still qualified who are trying to buy or invest in our market. It’s very likely we will see a strong flurry of sales activity as soon as this shelter in place is lifted. The economic impact of this will indeed hurt the Real Estate market. But this was not a bubble in Bellingham. New construction was still well below demand and population growth in our market. So it’s hard to say, but it’s more likely this is going to turn from a hot sellers market, to more of a balanced market in the months to come.

But obviously, it’s a new world now. Home sales will be down for the next 2 months, and down for 2020 for sure now. But home sales being down, does not necessarily equate to lower home prices. No question home value are going to flatline and soften in some price ranges and areas. But we still have low inventory and many buyers still qualified who are trying to buy or invest in our market. It’s very likely we will see a strong flurry of sales activity as soon as this shelter in place is lifted. 

The economic impact of this will indeed hurt the Real Estate market. But this was not a bubble in Bellingham. New construction was still well below demand and population growth in our market. So it’s hard to say, but it’s more likely this is going to turn from a hot sellers market, to more of a balanced market in the months to come.