At the outset of COVID-19, I can remember looking at a calendar and thinking to myself “by mid-July I am sure all will be back to normal.” I had planned both a trip to Thailand for a wedding and our annual family visit to California, back to back in late July through August. I was confident that I would not need to cancel those plans. Boy was I wrong! I also remember thinking that the real estate market would likely see a huge decline and we would just be climbing out of it now. I wasn’t alone, most experts predicted that as well.
Well, my vacation plans are definitely on hold. And that decline in real estate I expected? Yes, there definitely was a dip in activity. Yet, surprisingly it was not as dramatic as expected. We have had some up weeks and some down weeks in Arlington throughout this pandemic. Some weeks we saw a decline in activity of 50% or more, year over year. For the past five weeks, however, the number of new contracts in Arlington have exceeded the number of new contracts during the same time period one year ago. It appears that impacts of COVID-19 have subsided and we are in recovery. The chart below provides a complete breakdown of the numbers, year over year.
Of the homes that have gone under contract during the past five weeks, more than half lasted a week or less on the market. Buyer demand is high.
A recent survey of Realtors conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) at the end of June reveals that over 90% of those surveyed believe their market is in recovery. One factor that seems to have helped greatly is the advances in technology to allow for contactless transactions. Here in Arlington, we have adopted many new practices to allow for a safe transaction, from virtual open houses and FaceTime tours, to contactless closings. Because the practice of real estate was deemed an essential service from the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, we were forced to create and adopt these solutions quickly so that we could serve our clients safely.
According to the NAR survey, the greatest factor prompting an increased urgency in demand for homes as of late June 2020 is that many would-be buyers put their home search on hold at first, but now very much need to move. Many refer to this as pent-up demand, or a delayed Spring Market. Some other factors aiding the recovery according to the NAR survey include the realization among buyers of the benefit of new home features, the desire to buy before a second peak of COVID-19, the feeling of being tired of their current home and the historically low interest rates. These factors mirror what I see motivating buyers and sellers here in Arlington.
Will the recovery last? Have we reached that light at the end of the COVID tunnel? In my opinion, that largely depends on whether we can keep COVID-19 infection rates down and continue to move forward in the phased re-opening. No matter what happens, I will be here to keep you informed. Stay safe out there, and please reach out if you need help in buying or selling a home during this time. My offer is always open for virtual or socially distanced coffee to discuss all things real estate.
TTR Sotheby’s International Realty is regarded as one of the highest-performing real estate firms in the United States. With nine offices and over 450 sales associates across Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, our commitment to professional service, integrity, and community leadership allowed us to capture more than $3.17 Billion in closed sales in 2018, while also serving as one of Washington D.C.’s foremost leaders in corporate philanthropy.
TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 200
Arlington, Virginia 22201