BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way those who work in real estate are sealing the deal on new homes.
Before the coronavirus pandemic rattled the real estate industry, experts said the residential market was on the rise.
“The first part of March it was really busy. You know, people wanting to put their house on the market, wanting to show, rentals. All of this was just really picking up," said Cristy Trehern, real estate broker and owner of Gulf Coast Real Estate Solutions.
A national report by Realtor.com says by the end of March, the number of homes on the market fell by 15.7%. Trehern noticed that more sellers began to hold onto their assets.
“Now they’re hesitating, and they just don’t see how you can get a good number of showings with this going on, everybody being quarantined," she said.
Showings are taking on a new format as realtors host virtual tours using smartphones or computers.
“If they want to go back and see another spot, you know we can take them back here. That keeps that safe as well because you don’t have a lot of people touching doorknobs and touching cabinets," Trehern said.
Realtor Margaret Holmes said buyers have their eyes on low interest rates, made possible by emergency cuts from the Federal Reserve. The National Association of Realtors says people should expect higher losses in April as layoffs increase and more businesses close.
“We’re just going to have to wait and see, there’s no way, there’s no crystal ball," Holmes said.
Alternatively, NAR predicts that spending power will be ready to be unleashed once the all-clear signal is declared.
“As they go back to work and we get rid of this coronavirus, I think it’s going to encourage those folks to make moves on properties,” Holmes said.
The amount of mortgage applications to buy a home are 24-percent lower than this time last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.