The Answer May Surprise You

by Haya Kessler, Realtor®

As 2020 comes to the end of the third quarter, life as we knew it prior to COVID-19 is no longer our reality. Many are working from home; children are distance learning and parents are becoming teachers.

Many professions were deemed non-essential; however, real estate stayed essential throughout this period. As realtors, we had to learn to do our job in a different way; we had to adapt to the situation. The real estate industry excelled at adjusting and finding ways to serve their clients.

But, how did this affect and change the real estate market? How did it change a family’s wants and needs when buying or selling a home?

Are more people choosing to sell their homes for fear of a recession or are more people buying homes because the interest rates are so low? Do families want specific space in their house to homeschool? Do they want a designated office space? Based on information from the National Association of Realtors® and, we have seen certain trends that may surprise you.

In traditional years, the peak season for real estate sales is May and June. As we come out of the COVID-19 closures and the economy starts recovering, August has become the busiest month for real estate. Compared to this time last year, we have seen increases in sales.

Property values have gone up about 6% and new listings have decreased by about 11% from August 2019. While it doesn’t seem to be much, for those homebuyers hoping to find a great deal and low home prices, it has been a huge disappointment. The lack of inventory and the large number of buyers wanting to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates makes getting that perfect house a little tricky. Homebuyers must be ready to buy and make an offer with no delays and few contingencies. The desirable houses are sold within days and, on average, homes are sold in about 21 days. How long will this last? The experts predict a few years before the market changes.

Another change we have seen since the shut-down is an increase in homeschooling or distance learning. Parents have found themselves working at home while helping their children with school. As the new school year starts, we are unsure of how long children will be distance learning.

What changes have we seen in real estate because of that? Are more homebuyers looking for space for their children’s learning? Are sellers promoting space to teach in their homes? You would think so, but the reality is not what we would think: The demand for a dedicated teaching and learning space is not in as high demand as you would expect; actually, it really hasn’t been an issue or concern for the majority of homebuyers. It seems parents do not think this is a permanent situation, so there is no need for that extra expense.

One thing that families have seemed to want more of is outdoor space and larger yards to suit their lifestyles. This may be due to kids needing a place to play and exercise.

What about office space in the home? As many employees are working from home, it seems people would want a dedicated office space. Again, not a major change here either. Requests for an office space were already part of many wish lists, and now a small number of them want two offices. In general, not much change in this respect either.

For those who are selling, are they promoting their homes differently? What are they focusing on? Extra space for work? For homeschooling? No, they are not. The sellers are marketing their homes as usual with no specific or significant changes.

The pandemic is not over, and we are slowly moving toward living life in a new reality. How long this way of life will last, no one knows. But we know that we are adaptable, can change and continue to grow and thrive no matter what is thrown at us. Despite many predictions for a fall in real estate prices, real estate is strong and growing. We are in a seller’s market and, with low inventory, if you want that house, make sure you are working with a realtor who will help you navigate the fast-paced market.

Haya Kessler is a licensed realtor and team leader with The Brodkin Group at Realty ONE Group. She can be reached at 702.538.5565 or
NV License S.0078221