Online Survey

Here’s your competition – people will go out, if they feel safe. From Realtor Magazine:

Fifty-six percent of consumers say that despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they would attend an open house or take a home tour without hesitation, according to the Back To Normal Barometer from research company Engagious. Additionally, nearly half of respondents to the survey say they would return to activities such as taking a cruise, attending a live sporting event, or staying at a hotel.

However, an even greater number—61%—are concerned about the overall public health crisis and the U.S. economy, a sign that consumers are more hopeful about their personal circumstances than they are about the country in general. “People are concerned about societal impacts rather than how [COVID-19] affects them personally,” said Jon Last, president of Sports & Leisure Research Group, a marketing research consultancy based in White Plains, N.Y., and a co-creator of the barometer. “And they feel the same about the economy.”

Engagious presented the findings of the Back To Normal Barometer, a biweekly survey that measures consumer interest in a variety of industries and activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, to the National Association of REALTORS® last week.

The panel also looked at the survey respondents who said they weren’t ready to go to an open house yet and what conditions it would take for them to feel safe enough to do so again. According to Rich Thau, president of Engagious and co-creator of the barometer, they would need specific assurances, including the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine (47%) and assurances from the local health department that touring open houses would be safe (45%). “Two things that are critical are a certificate stating that [an area] has been properly sanitized according to established protocols and that the certificate has been issued by a local authority,” Thau said.

The real estate–related findings come from a national online survey earlier in May of 1,040 buyers and sellers. The goal was to provide insights about how consumers want to safely navigate residential real estate transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gina Derickson, research director of Engagious, expanded on the precautions that are important to consumers: People want to know that cleaning has taken place before they enter an establishment; they want to see professional cleaners rather than staff (or homeowners) working on high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and elevator buttons; and the right products and right wording are important. People prefer terms like “sanitized” and “disinfected” over “cleaned” on signage.

According to Derickson, respondents also saw a difference in risk associated with open houses depending on what side of the transaction a person falls on. The selling side is viewed as having a higher risk than the buying side. Sellers, Derickson explains, are perceived as having less control over who comes into the home and the surfaces people touch. On the other hand, respondents believe that buyers can better avoid COVID-19–related dangers and have a good sense of what a clean home looks like.

But whether on the buying or selling side, survey respondents agreed on one thing: Agents are crucial in helping them navigate the open house process. “Buyers and sellers depend on agents to inform them and enforce compliance,” Derickson said. “They want the agent to tell them what to do, and they want vetting to make sure the home is safe.”

In analyzing the survey results, Thau said real estate agents matter more than ever on both sides of the transaction. Fifty-eight percent of sellers and 58% of buyers say the buying and selling of real estate is an essential service, and 62% of sellers and 54% of buyers say a real estate agent’s guidance is especially valued during the pandemic.

Don’t Rely Completely on Virtual Tours

Thau offered some intriguing insights into the characteristics of the buyers and sellers themselves. A majority of both say they are comfortable with technology and conducting business on a computer, as well as taking online tours of homes. In addition, 55% of buyers say virtual tours are great for initially vetting which homes they would seriously consider purchasing, though that number dropped quite a bit when asked if a virtual tour was an acceptable substitute for an actual tour. Despite the drop, two out of five buyers say they would consider buying a home without a visit.

Thau revealed that there are ways to enhance the value of a virtual tour, such as including a tour of the neighborhood or providing written information about home improvements the seller has made. He found that 54% of buyers and 55% of sellers believe it’s important to have a real estate professional help buyers navigate virtual homebuying options.

In terms of traditional in-person home tours, both buyers and sellers see value in precautions, such as providing sanitary wipes, limiting visitors to two to four at a time, providing hand sanitizer, and requiring masks, gloves, and shoe coverings. Thau also noted that buyers and sellers see hand sanitizer, sanitary wipes, and visitor limitations as precautions that will need to remain in place over the long term.

Thau also included a caution for agents in reference to in-person tours: Thirty-eight percent of buyers and 48% of sellers indicate that they would consider legal action if they contracted COVID-19 after a showing. And 29% of buyers and 41% of sellers indicate that they would still consider suing even if they had signed a release. However, 58% of buyers say they’re willing to waive their right to sue.

Agents Expected to Offer COVID-19 Guidance

According to Thau, what matters the most to buyers and sellers about in-person tours is the real estate agent, who is expected to know and enforce health-related safety rules. Sixty-four percent of buyers and sellers state that agents should understand state and local protocols for COVID-19 safety and provide guidance, and 63% of buyers and 64% of sellers say that if someone in the home is not following health protocols during a visit, they expect the real estate agent to address it.

Buyers and sellers also indicated that it is important for an agent to know how to close a real estate transaction electronically, and a majority of both indicated that agents add value to an online search. Helping buyers uncover valuable information about a property, helping them sift through online listings, and providing more in-depth pictures and videos of properties were among the ways agents could be of service to clients. And while 40% of buyers and 52% of sellers stated that they wouldn’t need to meet their real estate agent in person to buy or sell a home, they did place a premium on oral communication—70% of buyers and 66% of sellers said they felt more comfortable talking on the phone or talking via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, or a similar app that allows face-to-face communication, which are much higher numbers than those who felt comfortable communicating by email or text.

What this means, Thau said, is that agents really matter during the pandemic. Forty-seven percent of buyers and 53% of sellers indicated that relying on a real estate professional for buying or selling a home was more important than before. “Agents’ value has gone up tremendously as a result of the pandemic,” he said. “People need reassurance.” And he offered this advice: “Know the protocols, follow them, and don’t be afraid to enforce them.”

NSDCC May Sales & Pricing – Preliminary

Last month, the NSDCC sales ended up being down 42% year-over-year, and the average cost-per-sf was down too by almost 6%. But the median sales price was up a tick.

The stats this month will suffer by having two fewer business days, which will cost us about 25 sales – but that won’t affect the price comparisons much.

NSDCC May Sales & Pricing – Preliminary

Year
# of Sales
Avg $$/sf
Median SP
Median $$/sf
2016
334
$498/sf
$1,216,250
$415/sf
2017
346
$515/sf
$1,222,500
$431/sf
2018
274
$591/sf
$1,325,000
$480/sf
2019
296
$598/sf
$1,365,000
$501/sf
2020
112
$564/sf
$1,363,250
$482/sf

Let’s estimate the final number of sales by adding 47 to the count above – that’s how many closed in the last two days of May, 2019.

Adding the 47 to the 112 +10% for others not reported yet equals roughly 175 sales for this month, which is another 41% drop from the previous year.

The median sales price won’t change much in the final tally, and the $$/sf might move a couple of bucks in either direction – so we are looking at a max of a 5% correction in pricing. Sales in June should be a little stronger, and prices about the same.

The most alarming numbers are the sales in 2016 & 2017, which were double of what we’ll have this month.

San Diego Case-Shiller Index, March

The local Case-Shiller Index for March had the biggest monthly increase in 2+ years, and helps to show why we are getting back to a healthy market quickly. March is usually a strong month though:

San Diego Non-Seasonally-Adjusted CSI changes:

Observation Month
SD CSI
M-o-M chg
Y-o-Y chg
January ’18
248.16
+0.8%
+7.3%
Feb
250.91
+1.1%
+7.5%
Mar
253.41
+1.0%
+7.6%
April
255.63
+0.9%
+7.7%
May
257.07
+0.6%
+7.3%
Jun
258.44
+0.6%
+6.9%
Jul
258.49
0.0%
+6.2%
Aug
257.32
-0.5%
+4.7%
Sept
256.13
-0.4%
+3.9%
Oct
255.26
-0.1%
+3.7%
Nov
253.37
-0.6%
+3.3%
Dec
251.68
-0.7%
+2.3%
January ’19
251.30
-0.2%
+1.3%
Feb
253.69
+0.9%
+1.1%
Mar
256.40
+1.1%
+1.2%
Apr
257.63
+0.5%
+0.8%
May
260.08
+1.0%
+1.1%
June
261.90
+0.7%
+1.3%
July
263.66
+0.7%
+2.0%
Aug
263.23
-0.2%
+2.3%
Sep
263.26
0%
+2.8%
Oct
262.56
-0.2%
+2.7%
Nov
263.18
+0.2%
+3.9%
Dec
263.51
+0.1%
+4.7%
Jan ’20
264.04
+0.2%
+5.1%
Feb
265.34
+0.5%
+4.6%
Mar
269.63
+1.6%
+5.2%

From cnbc:

The strength in March prices came even as mortgage rates bumped sharply higher during the month. That should have given homebuyers less purchasing power. Rates began falling precipitously after that and hit a new record low late this month.

“As states are cautiously reopening business activity and people are looking at summer plans in a new light, the reality of 25 million unemployed Americans is casting looming clouds over the horizon,” said George Ratiu, senior economist at realtor.com.” For homebuyers, low availability coupled with still-rising prices are overshadowing the benefit of historically low mortgage rates.”

The March numbers should be taken with a grain of salt since they are 2 months old and are calculated using a three-month running average.

“Housing prices have not yet registered any adverse effects from the governmental suppression of economic activity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lazzara said. “As much of the U.S. economy remained shuttered in April, next month’s data may show a more noticeable impact.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/26/coronavirus-home-prices-gained-strength-in-march-sp-case-shiller-says.html

Inventory Watch – Spring Start Over

We are back to having a similar number of California showings as we had in the first week of March!

It looks like we will jam the usual six-month-long selling season into just four – May through August – but only if there is enough to sell. The showings leveled off recently, and it might be because buyers have seen everything there is to see. But the total number of new actives did surge higher, but that might only mean you have 1-2 more to look at:

The 121 new listings this week is the most since we had 122 on March 11, 2019 –  yet we’re still 200+ listings behind where we were a year ago. The new pendings had a big week too with an increase of 57% over last week’s count:

Mortgage rates hit their all-time low this week, so it’s all blue sky ahead!

Weekly NSDCC New Listings and New Pendings

Week
New Listings
New Pendings
Total Pendings
Mar 16
83
55
329
Mar 23
59
31
289
Mar 30
63
31
251
Apr 6
57
21
219
Apr 13
48
17
194
Apr 20
63
29
192
Apr 27
79
40
205
May 4
86
40
208
May 11
91
48
226
May 18
95
44
224
May 25
121
69
266

Statistically, we are cranking!

(more…)

For the Fallen

Memorial Day – a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered, traditionally observed on May 30 but now officially observed on the last Monday in May.

Join the local livestream tribute beginning at 9:00am Monday of four events at San Diego’s most iconic locations including Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, Mt. Soledad National Memorial, Miramar National Cemetery, and the USS Midway Museum:

https://www.midway.org/memorialdaylive/

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