- Business Insider 15:45April 30, 2020A New York real estate agent's advice for buying or selling a home during the coronavirus crisisPortland Press Herald / Contributor/Getty Images Real estate has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of new listings dropping by 19% in early April, according to online real estate database Zillow.
If you're trying to buy or sell a home while social distancing, you can take advantage of virtual open houses, 3D tours, and video conferencing with real estate agents.
Although interest rates are currently low, experts say that getting a mortgage will still require patience and persistence — and, unfortunately, might be a bit more difficult than usual during this time.
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. With few options to keep her real estate business going as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across New York City and Long Island, Mary Macaluso decided to try giving a virtual property tour as a way to sell a home.
Figuring it would be a long shot, she grabbed her smartphone and headed to her listing to record and narrate a digital tour. The veteran real estate agent posted the video on Facebook, skeptical it would yield any results. Much to her surprise, a few hours later Macaluso had three potential buyers, including one who ultimately made an offer.
"Up until today, I was telling them to wait," she said of her real estate clients looking to buy a home or sell a home amid the pandemic. "Now I'm on my second showing."
The real estate industry has come to a screeching halt in many regions as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spread across the US. With much of America under shelter in place orders and practicing social distancing, real estate agents have been forced to cancel open houses and in-person showings. Buying and selling season is tougher this year At the same time, millions of Americans are losing their jobs. Their financial futures now hang in the balance. All of that places the spring buying and selling season, typically the busiest time of year for home sales, in serious jeopardy. According to Zillow, the number of new listings usually grows around 50% from March to early April, but fell 19% this year, as the virus spread. Listings were down 27.1% in the first week of April.
It makes sense. No one knows when social distancing rules will be relaxed, and if or when the economy will recover from this unprecedented shock. "Our understanding of US economic conditions is changing weekly, if not daily, and early unemployment figures are striking, so it's understandable that some are hesitant to put their home on the market," said Skylar Olsen, senior principal economist at Zillow. "But activity continues from those who need to buy or sell for a job, or another major life event."
There's no doubt purchasing or selling a home amid the pandemic will prove more difficult, but it's not impossible. Transactions are still happening thanks in large part to an assist from technology.
Virtual tours are replacing the in-person showing With open houses banned in some states and homeowners skittish to let would-be buyers in, real estate agents are turning to technology to give buyers a look inside properties. Real estate agents like Macaluso are recording or streaming virtual tours and holding open houses where buyers jump on a video conference to walk through the home. Many are using tech to turn 360-degree panoramic photos of properties into 3D virtual tours. In the last week of March, Zillow reported a 408% increase in 3D tours created on its platform, compared to a normal week in February. In March, listings that featured a 3D tour received 50% more visits than those without.
"I think there's such a pent up desire from a lot of buyers who are frustrated they can't do anything right now," said Macaluso. "Maybe this is the way it's going to be." It's not just showings that are happening virtually. Other aspects of real estate transactions, whether it's getting an appraisal or signing documents, are also taking place virtually thanks to digital tools.
Securing a mortgage requires patience and persistence Technology is making real estate deals happen, but in this new real estate norm, it doesn't guarantee it will be easy for those looking to purchase or sell a home. Outside of the limitations on viewing properties, obtaining a mortgage may prove more difficult. With unemployment at staggering rates, mortgage servicers are busy helping homeowners. At the same time mortgage rates, while at historic lows, are still in flux, making it harder to lock in a rate.
"Interest rates are low, but that being said, the mortgage market is under a bit of stress right now because the government has required mortgage services to work with individuals having trouble paying their mortgage," said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com. "Mortgage rates are moving quite a bit day by day, hour to hour. Getting a mortgage or refinancing will require patience and persistence. It doesn't mean it can't be done. It's just a little more difficult than normal."
While uncertainty is driving inaction in this current environment, home buyers and sellers can take solace in the fact the real estate market was in a good position before the pandemic hit. A strong economy and the aging of millennials made sure of that. That should help it recover once the virus is contained. "There's a massive amount of people hitting first time home buying milestones. They are getting married and having kids," and need a home, said Zillow's Olsen. "So much of life is moving forward, and housing is inextricably connected to life."
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< Features, HerMoney, Real Estate Advice, Real estate agents, Buying A Home, Home buying, COVID-19, Selling A Home, Real estate market, Home Owners, New York real estate, Contributor, contributor 2019, >
- Observer 16:00March 10, 2020Jennifer Lawrence Accepted a Loss on Her Upper East Side PenthouseThe New York apartment is now in contract for $12 million.
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- Observer 15:00March 4, 2020Marc Jacobs Found a Buyer for His Stylish $12 Million West Village TownhouseThe fashion designer has been trying to sell the home for nearly a year.
< 400 West 12th Street, 68 Bethune Street, celebrity homes, celebrity real estate, Fashion Designers, Manhattan, Nest Seekers International, New York real estate, superior ink, townhouses, West Village >
- Business Insider 23:49February 27, 2020What it's really like living in New York City on a $100,000 salaryAstrakan Images/Getty New York City has some of the country's highest-paying jobs.
Nearly 30% of New Yorkers make six-figure salaries.
But a high income doesn't render you impervious to the city's high taxes and infamously high cost of living.
From tiny, 260-square-foot apartments to above-average-priced milk, here's what living in New York on a $100,000 salary can really look like.
New York is a relatively high-income state.
Source: Data USA
And New York City has higher incomes than other parts of the country.
Source: Data USA
Many people flock to the Big Apple for the assortment of high-paying jobs the market has to offer.
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:Maria Sharapova arrived in the US at age 7 with $700 but is retiring from her 17-year professional tennis career with millions — here's how she made her fortune.The best airlines, hotels, and airport lounges for business travelers, ranked7 Democratic presidential candidates faced off in the South Carolina debate. Here's a look at their real estate portfolios, from Mike Bloomberg's 11 luxury properties to Pete Buttigieg's $125,000 Indiana house.SEE ALSO: Disappointing photos show what living in San Francisco on a tech salary really looks like
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- Observer 15:00February 13, 2020Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Former Soho Apartment Found a BuyerThe sleek apartment was last on the market for $3.99 million.
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- Observer 15:30January 30, 2020Bethenny Frankel Finally Sold Her Soho Apartment at a LossIt took three years and a serious discount for the Skinnygirl mogul to find a buyer for the Mercer Street home.
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- Observer 15:00January 29, 2020Michelle Williams and Thomas Kail Bought a $10.8 Million Brooklyn Heights TownhouseThe brownstone dates back to the 1820s.
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- Business Insider 23:29January 27, 2020New York City apartment sales dropped dramatically in 2019 after a new renting law was enactedRaymond Boyd/Getty Images Apartment sales in New York City fell 40% by dollar value in 2019 compared to the year prior, according to a report by Ariel Property Advisors.
There were 290 multifamily transactions in 2019, the first time the metric fell below 300 since 2010.
The drop comes after a new law in 2019 altered landlords' ability to raise rental prices and changed programs that allowed landlords to charge a portion of the costs for building-wide and individual apartment improvements.
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Sales of apartment buildings in New York City dropped dramatically in 2019 compared to the year prior, according to a report by Ariel Property Advisors. The decline reflected the impact of a new renting law that irked landlords but pleased many renters.
Multifamily building sales by dollar volume fell by 40% from 2018 to 2019, the report said, the metric's lowest since 2011. Transaction volume fell by 36% and building volume dropped by 47% in the same time span. See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: WeWork went from a $47 billion valuation to a failed IPO. Here's how the company makes money.See Also:4 tax breaks every US college student should know aboutA woman who studied 600 millionaires discovered where you choose to live has 2 effects on your ability to build wealthThese photos of abandoned malls and golf courses reveal a new era for the American suburb
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- Observer 15:00January 24, 2020Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick May Sell Their West Village Home of 20 YearsThey're quietly shopping around the Charles Street townhouse for $19 million.
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- Observer 15:00January 19, 2020Hilary Swank’s Former West Village Townhouse Is on the Market for $11 MillionPeek inside the charming four-story Charles Street home.
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