Residential real estate market continues to thrive during COVID-19 restrictions

While many industries are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, one industry is continuing to thrive, as March was a great month for residential real estate.

The number of people looking to buy a home remains quite high, making it a good seller’s market.

What is different are the mechanics of actually making the purchase, however.

Home buyers are relying on virtual tours now more than ever, primarily helping to narrow down the possibilities fast. For realtor Tricia Ryan, her home showings are taking on a whole new look. For one, only the buyer is allowed to be present, including no children or parents.

“They’re leaving out hand sanitizer and wipes, and the buyer and I came with sanitizers, booties, gloves, everyone’s very respectful,” said Ryan.

In March, Minnesota home sales were up by 10 percent over the prior year, and sellers were receiving 98 percent of their asking price. Inventory is low while the number of people looking to buy is high.

“Interest rates were like a roller coaster for about two weeks as people were trying to figure out what was going on with the economy. They stabilized [and] now they’re very solid at about 3.25 percent - that’s a very good interest rate,” said Chris Galler of Minnesota realtors.

There was a 13.6 percent increase in new listings in March and pending sales grew 11.5 percent, but a lot of people have lost jobs and income.

“We think in April we’ll start to see pending sales down and then into late May, June and July we’ll see closed sales down,” Galler said.

He says that sales won’t be down by much, however. Overall, the outlook for buying and selling is good. Ryan says it has inspired a sense of team for everyone involved.

“We’re very thankful we weren’t shut down. So, for that I think we’ve all been very polite as colleagues, all the different fields in our industry. The appraisers, the inspectors, other agents, making sure that everyone follows the rules and protocols not only that the seller's set not only for COVID, but also that the particular seller's set so we can continue to work,” said Ryan.

Ryan said that while there may be a slight dip, overall, the market should continue to do pretty well, especially if it turns out there is a baby boom when this is all said and done.