The Macon County residential real estate market for the first quarter of 2020 outpaced the first quarter of 2019 by just over 40% in terms of both dollar volume and units sold. Dollar volume was up by $9 million and 79 more homes were sold as compared to the same time period in 2019. To say the market started strong is an understatement.
Average list price increased 2% to approximately $116,500 from $114,600 and average sales price increased 1% to $109,800 from $108,500. Buyers and sellers alike were encouraged as the demand was high, the inventory was low, interest rates were experiencing record lows, and financial measures were pointing upward. As a classic example of a right-side up economy: demand was greater than the supply.
Then COVID-19 hit and suddenly life, as America knew it, was different.
“The real estate business - all business - changed overnight,” says Brinkoetter Realtors Owner and Designated Managing Broker, Tom Brinkoetter. “Businesses were ordered to shut down, jobs were lost, doors were shut for an undeterminable amount of time.”
According to Brinkoetter, the world of real estate didn’t begin to see an impact of the global pandemic right away, as first quarter numbers demonstrate positive momentum for the local real estate market. “It will take 30-60 days before we will begin to see the full effects of the shut-down on the local real estate scene,” says Brinkoetter. This is because once a contract is signed it can take 30 to 60 days to close the sale.
Says Brinkoetter, “Houses are still selling, we’re still closing deals that were pending. But things are moving at a slower pace. Interest rates remain low, but lenders are starting to tighten up guidelines and buyers are uncertain about their economic futures.”
But Brinkoetter remains hopeful as new times mean new opportunities for the company. “We have positioned ourselves to be able to adapt quickly and effectively, and respond the immediate need,” says Brinkoetter.
Brinkoetter Agents and Professional Technicians are adjusting to a new normal, using technology to ensure both quality and safety for all parties involved. “It’s a huge strength of the company that we’re able to provide all the services and technology in-house,” says Brinkoetter. “Not only are we able to stand by the quality and professionalism of our 360 degree technology and 3D virtual tours, I’m able to tell clients, with confidence, that our staff is taking all the necessary precautions to ensure their safety. I don’t know that I could make the same promise if we were working with third-party photographers and videographers.”
Today, Brinkoetter Agents are communicating with their clients now more than ever, leaning on technology and applications like Zoom, FaceTime, Messenger, and Google Hangouts. They are counseling their clients – each individual buyer and seller – to do what is right for them given their specific situation. In most cases, that advice comes down to three words: Stay The Course.
If your home is currently on the market, there are a number of reasons why de-listing may be counterproductive. As a result of the crisis, people are spending more time in front of their screens. At the moment, they may be focused on news, but if they were conducting a home search prior to the outbreak, eventually their attention will be drawn back to real estate.
If you’re actively looking, stay engaged. While things have slowed significantly, new listings are still coming on the market almost every day.
“The economy is going to come back, bigger and better than it was,” assures Brinkoetter. “The housing market will likely not only make a strong recovery, it will be a driver of future economic growth. We just have to hang in there, remain positive, and do what we can for our colleagues, our neighbors, and our community.”
*statistical data sourced from the Central Illinois Board of Realtors, MLS