If there has ever been a year full of unexpected events and unforeseen changes, this has been it. As COVID has progressed from a distant idea into our reality here in Central IL, we have all watched as its effects have slowly reached many areas of our lives. Whether that meant schooling for our children screeching to a halt, family vacations being cancelled, weddings being postponed, or simply learning to live in social distance from others, none of our lives have been untouched by this pandemic in some way.
As a realtor, I have been watching closely as our economy and housing market responds to these events! I want to give the best possible advice to each of my clients. Although the housing market is constantly changing, there are some things to note regarding current trends and the effects of COVID on real estate here in central Illinois.
When people ask me about the market, “it depends” is always my reply. It depends what area you are talking about and mostly what price range you are looking at. For the most part, homes that are priced around $300,000 and under have been moving very quickly – if the seller has spent some time preparing their home for market! When I say quickly, I am referring to one or two days! Homes that are priced around $300,000 and above still might take a little time, but we are seeing buyers wanting to upgrade and take advantage of the fantastic interest rates as well. Just last week one of my buyers locked in at 2.62% for a 30 year loan! Unbelievable!
As a whole, our listing inventory is down over last year by 12% for the Tri-County area. In Morton the listings are down 16.3% and in Dunlap they are up 5.1% year over year. So when I answer “it depends”, the market depends on the area and the price range. As realtors, we are finding out that sellers are less comfortable putting their home on the market during this time but the buyer demands are still strong.
We assume sellers are hesitant because they either assume no one is buying during a pandemic, or they are not comfortable with others walking through their homes at this time. As agents, we are doing everything possible to keep the sellers safe. For example, we are asking buyers to use hand sanitizer, bootie covers, masks, plastic gloves, and limit touching as much as possible before walking through the home. Virtual tours have also been very helpful, and I for one have grown in technological ways during these past few months!
On the flip side, I believe buyer demands are strong because people are spending lots of time at home right now. This causes lots of re-evaluating our living space, wanting a change of pace, and realizing what does not work anymore for families. Some buyers are finding that they need an office at home because they are working from home for example. Much of the demand is also due to the historically low interest rates – buyers want to take advantage of this. For example, this morning the interest rates for a $150,000 mortgage with excellent credit are: 30 years – 2.875%; 20 years – 2.75%; and 15 years – 2.5%. Incredible!
Even through a pandemic in the Tri-County area, pending sales are up 14.5% and closed sales are up 10.1% from 2019. The average sales price has increased 4.1% over 2019 for our community as well! In Morton alone, the average sales price has increased 13.9%, and in Dunlap, it has increased 6.6%. If you are wondering if now is a good time to put your home on the market, or what the market is doing in your area and your price range, please reach out to me so we can visit! I always want to keep my clients up to date on the Real Estate market. I truly have your best interests at heart for “unlocking new doors”.