2020 is not a year we will easily forget! Looking back at the adjustments and sacrifices we made last year, it really felt longer than the years I’ve experienced in the past. But through necessity we’ve found exciting solutions to the obstacles we faced. I’ve seen many positive changes adopted by the real estate industry that I hope we continue using moving forward.
As usual, I’ve been paying close attention to the real estate market, especially as Covid-19 lingers into 2021. I’ve heard some concerns about buying and selling homes during “uncertain” times and want to address some of them head-on.
Is the real estate market still strong?:
I have heard a few murmurs about an economic depression, similar to 2008, as a response to the pandemic. Understandably, this may convince prospective buyers and sellers to wait. But keep in mind, what is happening now is very different from the 2008 financial and housing crisis. Currently, we are operating with lending laws that are much more strict after the 2008 fallout, laws that protect consumers against over-leveraging and have helped stabilize the value of homes. And remember, Huntsville was fairly insulated in the 2008 downturn and didn’t experience the effects like most other markets across the country. Not to say everything will go back to our pre-Covid “normal”, but I think we can count on housing in our area to remain strong for the foreseeable future.
How are prices in the market if you already own property?:
In Huntsville, housing value is continuing to increase. In a way, Huntsville has always been a conservatively priced market as compared to national averages. Even when people can afford much more, they tend to buy less housing in order to have more expendable income. Maybe this can be attributed to the pragmatic approach from our engineering-minded population. Nonetheless, our home prices have remained low and appreciation has been slow for a long time, so naturally locals are having a hard time taking in the new pricing norms.
I hear of situations all the time where an investor approaches a homeowner with a cash offer and no closing costs, seeming like the deal of a lifetime! But what the homeowner might not consider is that they may have more equity invested in their home than they realize. That along with a market with low inventory, and high demand, should make you consider strategies to get the most value for your house. Give your house a chance on the market, with great marketing and representation, and you might just be surprised at the response.
With prices so “good”, should homebuyers resist the jump to purchase?:
I have clients every so often that really like to take their time with their search, to really find THE PERFECT house. Of course I support this, I always want my clients to know that the house they are moving into is really the right house for them right now and for years to come. But what can happen, especially when prices rise at a quick pace, is that it is difficult for any house now to live up to your expectations from a few months back. It seems like you’re getting 5..10..15..20% less than what you were getting when you started looking for a house. Now you regret the “one that got away” house, or that you held back on placing an offer on a house that you definitely liked.
We should also consider that the necessity of teleworking may be delaying many inevitable relocations. Soon teleworking trends will dwindle and it will be necessary to be in the office more often. We will then have a backlog of families, in addition to any new hires, moving to the area-all at the same time! I expect that will further escalate the trend of low inventory and increasing home and rent prices. So waiting might not be the best game plan if what you are looking for is available now, even if you do save a month or two on rent or mortgage.
While searching, be aware of the possible setbacks that waiting too long can bring. Keep in mind that things such as minor improvements after your purchase can turn a great house into your dream home. Be sure to speak to your agent as soon as possible to get advice on your next steps.
What housing trends have emerged during covid?:
Clients I have worked with have been re-thinking their living spaces. Of course! It makes sense, as we all have been spending much more time in our living spaces. And not only us, but also our kids, our guests, and our hobbies. If the pre-covid trend may have been leaning toward smaller living spaces and more communal living spaces outside of the home, the post-covid trend focuses back on the home and how we relate to the spaces within.
Upgrades in outdoor spaces, spruced up kitchens, finishing basements and bonus room, all relatively commonplace in Covid-19 times. People are looking to have more office space in the home, and many of us are primarily working from home even now! Because working from home has become more normal, the need for that dedicated office space is likely to stick. A bonus or “extra” space for kids is something helpful for growing families or families with teens, covid or no-covid. And having a dedicated en-suite bath for a separated guest space is also something that is important more now than ever.
We’re here to help!:
As it is bound to happen, let us know if you’ve grown all you can within your current place. If you need help finding a new spot to thrive let us know, we are ready to help make that transition!
I love to strategize and create creative solutions to overcome the challenges I face with my clients and want to be your advocate to find your new place with us in the Rocket city. Take the next step, contact my team, and we will find success together!