Market Update 03/20/2020
We are getting a lot of questions about real estate and the impact of Corona Covid-19. I have been tracking statistics and talking with our trusted vendors and partners to create this update. I will post regular updates as things change.
With the volatility of the global markets, mortgage-backed securities tanked. This has led to mortgage rates rising, even when the news tells of the Fed lowering rates to near zero. For a strong borrower, 760 score or above, $250,000 mortgage, 20% down, 30 year, rates were in the mid 4% range. This will likely give some buyers pause. If buyers have to buy, choosing to float rather than lock in rates would be a wise strategy.
Document Recording and Closing Updates
From the Statewide Michigan Realtor Association: “We have been talking to a number of registers of deeds and title companies about the effect of county office closures on real estate closings. Currently, it would appear that while county registers of deeds are closed to the public, most are accepting documents for recording via mail and overnight and/or electronic delivery. While title insurance companies are continuing to insure title as of the date of closing, given the uncertainty as to the ultimate recording date, many are requiring sellers to sign something at closing stating that they have not done and will not do anything that will affect title to the property. We will continue to monitor this situation, and we invite members to let us know of any different experiences from your part of the State.” Washtenaw County is currently accepting only documents delivered by the USPS.
Our agents have continued to show properties, although not at a “normal” March pace. Precautions include using hand sanitzer before and after viewing each home, driving separately to properties and for sellers, wiping down surfaces after each showing and requesting the use of booties for shoes. Here is data from our showing service which tracks showing activity. This graph is statewide activity comparing 2019 to 2020.
Real Estate Market Stats
Time period: The first 20 days of March 2019 & 2020
Area: Washtenaw County
Listings withdrawn or temporarily off the market
Listings marked Active-Contigent, Active-LTC (Buyers have a house to sell), Pending or Sold
What should sellers do?
Along with our usual professional photography package, we are including several different video and virtual tour products on each listing. We are encouraging showings for only serious and healthy buyers once they have seen these tours. If you are an immune-compromised seller who lives in the property for sale, we have to recommend postponing the listing at this time. If you can wait to put your house on the market, we recommend doing so at least until April 6th.
For Fun while Staying Home
If you have to track the virus
Be safe everyone! Wash your hands and stay home if you can. Reach out to your loved ones and with special attention to our front line people.