Days after I wrote the last Local Real Estate report, our county and state issued the shelter-in-place order, which obviously disrupted the flow of buying and selling property completely. Initially, Real Estate was not considered essential, which left a lot of us perplexed, but a few weeks into the process, that changed (because housing).
At first, there was slightly less activity overall, but as we’ve grown more familiar with this new lifestyle, so has the local market. Real estate has made it’s adjustments to pandemic along with everything else and the new protocols and forms are part of the rhythm now.
The bottom line is that there are still buyers and sellers and transactions are moving along smoothly, which wasn’t the case a few months ago. However there have been some changes, and some people are predicting big shifts in the economy, which could affect the real estate market. Read on for more information about why this might not be the case in Humboldt County.
One change is that some buyers lost their ability to qualify for a loan. When people lose their jobs, or get their hours cut, they lose their purchase power, and so there are slightly less buyers out there right now. Additionally, financial institutions were adjusting their requirements for lending and that made for a few weeks of instability, but things have leveled out now with some new and/or different requirements. If you’re looking at buying a home and haven’t connected with your lender since pre-coronavirus, you’ll definitely want to check in with them.
In keeping with the theme of changes, the WAY we do real estate has changed somewhat. Many sellers are requiring more of the buyers before showing their properties because they want serious buyers only, meaning their asking for pre-qualification letters and/or proof of funds. Occupied properties have special virus-related postings for buyers to see and sometimes sellers are requiring gloves, masks etc. for entry to the property. This means if you’re thinking of buying, you’ll want to reach out to a lender first, just to be sure you’re qualified and ready to move forward.
IS IT A GOOD TIME TO BUY OR SELL?
First, the big variable is the economy. A recent UCLA Forecast predicted that the economy in California is going to drop sharply, with a gradual return to the peak of late 2019 sometime around 2023. This could definitely impact the real estate market. We will have to wait to see if this is what actually happens in our state, but I can tell you that locally, the real estate market is not reflecting this trend at this time.
I’m pretty open about my perspective that it is always a good time to BUY in Humboldt County. Interest in life behind the Redwood Curtain is continuing to grow, and people continue to move here to retire, change their lifestyle or get away from city life. Many of these people come from other parts of California, and bring influxes of money to the local Real Estate market, which does drive prices up. To me, that makes this a growing market, which continues to be worthwhile to invest in. Also, buying a home is an investment in yourself and family. All great reasons to buy now.
As for considering selling your property, you may think that the shelter-in-place restrictions and decreased buyer pool are great reasons to wait to list your property for sale, but let’s look at the actual statistics.
In Humboldt County, the total number of Active Listings is down 18% from this time last year. The volume of sold properties is also down by 6%, which indicates that slightly fewer properties listed are actually getting into contract and selling.
However, interestingly, the average sale price is up by 5%.
Property values in Humboldt continue to rise, and this increase is representing that trend.
These stats indicate that now is a great time to sell your property. The summer market here is getting a slow start and it’s still possible to take advantage of that. Also, sellers should be assured that even if the county begins to shut down again, real estate will have the protocols in place to continue as an essential business.
In summary, the market is currently stable amid major societal upheaval. Humboldt County real estate continues to be an amazing financial investment. Local people who live here want to buy here, and out of area people are actively investing here. If you’re interested in more information, check out our online guides for buyers and sellers, or consider giving us a call!
Happy Summer, Humboldt!