A message to our valued customers, clients, brokers and Santa Feans from Emily Medvec. During a time when the uncertainity of the pandemic continues and as we open slowly and safely in Santa Fe, questions remain about real estate. Real estate like the virus has mutated the practice of real estate as well as paused the market from activity. Now when your home is more important than ever before, we can help you understand and navigate real estate in the Covid-19 landscape safely.
What's changed in the market and practice of real estate when Covid-19 stopped most daily activities? First, the stock market volatility and record unemployment impacted both buyer and seller lives and financial resources. Unlike the 2008 housing crisis, the CARES Act (Coronovirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) with unemployment insurance enhancement, SBA and PPP (Paycheck Protection Program), EIDA Loans (Economic Injury Disaster Loans), a freeze on evictions and mortage forbearance provided a substantial safety net for employees, homeowners and small businesses. Also, unlike 2008, there was no oversuplly of house. Homeowners had more equity in their homes due to the growing economy and continued undersupply of housing.
What is different now in our local market. There is a larger shortage of housing inventory in Santa Fe. May 2020 and April 2020 homes sales remained as flat as our roofs! The New Mexico Association of Realtors reported only 134 home sales in Santa Fe County in May slightly less than April's 138. This was the lowest since the May 2012 number of 111! Santa Fe median sale prices were flat too with little change from April's $371,500 to May's $371,643. At the same time, some sellers are beginning to see opportunities in a market of low inventory as Santa Fe remains a very attractive community. Many buyers who can now work remotely and want more functional home as lifestyle insurance from any future lockdowns are looking a Santa Fe differently.
The process of buying and selling continues to adapt to the safety challenges the pandemic presents. Remember, inventory was low before the pandemic. Many buyers changed expectations and adapted to the newer technology of virtual tours. Now, three months into the pandemic, home buyers expect virtual tours, Facebook open houses and zoom consultations. Some buyers are beginning to purchase property sight unseen and gather further information with video home inspections. New practices are becoming more permanent. The home may be vacant or homeowners will be absent. Everyone previewing the home will be limited in number and wearing masks. The home surfaces will be sanitized with anti-bacterial solutions and wipes and cabinets and doors will be open. Further, buyers may be required to provide more than a lender pre-qualification letter to see the home. A loan pre-appoval letter or proof of funds may be requested along with a hold harmless agreement. Be open to the real estate process changing on a dime depending on the pandemic and the promise of a vaccine.
Future sellers who become buyers and buyers have changed they way they evaluate their next move, their living environment as well as schools and their potential home work/school environment. A change of location is now on the table. Not only the home features are important, but where the home is located is a new consideration. Santa Fe has been a popular destination for retirement and 2nd homes. When you add the option of remote working from Santa Fe, makes our community attractive to a new buyer pool of younger generational buyers from urban and tech centers.
The bottom line is the virus will continue to mutate how we practice real estate and impact both buyer and seller decisions. What is important is to stay informed. Homeowners need to monitor the value of their home. Buyers need to monitor their credit and purchasing power. We are here to help you navigate our local market when you are ready for your next move. If you are visiting Santa Fe, please wear a mask. It is a city and state requirement. Kindly respect others, stay safe and maintain physical distancing. Together we can make a difference for everyone.