The bottom line is- sales are still healthy.
This downturn hasn’t affected housing like the crash of 2007-8, which is the major event that most of us have to measure this against. There has been upheaval with individual buyers- if your income depended on restaurants, or entertainment, then lenders have rescinded approvals. I’m personally just as busy as I was in February, which was very busy. The first 3 months of 2020 had 10.5% more closings than the same period in 2019.
When Oregon Stay Home-Stay Safe order went into effect, prices were in the middle of a typical Spring price bump. Since showing got much more difficult, that cut out the frenzy around the nicest listings, for the most part. (I heard about a home that received 6 offers in the last couple weeks, but that is rare now where in Jan- early March it was becoming typical.) In February, one of my buyer clients had to beat 15 other offers to get his home under contract. Now it’s much more common that only a few buyers will be ready to offer.
The market is a much more mild seller’s market now. There’s still not enough sitting inventory to call it a buyer’s market BUT you’re much more likely to find a seller willing to be flexible on price or closing costs, now that they can’t count on a line of other buyers waiting for a chance at the same place.
Many sellers had heard about the market acceleration/tight supply/seller’s market we had going and we’ve got more homes coming on the market, at the same time I see buyers are more comfortable about going out to tour. I think things are going to stay balanced for the near future.
Lenders have had a tough time, but that hasn’t translated to difficulty for buyers. The bond market, which is generally the source for the money for mortgages, has seen massive upheavals, rapid rate changes and limited availability. Loan products like Jumbo loans that were widely available a couple months ago are very hard to access now. A couple lenders have even gone out of business. If you haven’t checked with a loan company for a while, it’s a good time to get an update. Title company staff are largely working from home, which can make transactions take longer.
Long term, house prices are going to depend on the economy. If things tank and people stay laid off, I expect prices to drop eventually. As long as people are doing alright, we should see prices continue to rise as people continue to move to Portland faster than they leave. Contact me for updates!