For the first time since the pandemic began recent headlines point to a hopeful vaccine. For many people, it’s welcome news that indicates the possibility that life will soon get back to normal. The news will likely impact more than just morale, however. Just as markets responded to the pandemic, they will also respond to this.
But what will it mean for the housing market specifically. As you might expect, we are watching this one closely. Keep in mind, as active buyer and seller agents we experience in real time how the market is being affected. Often those fluctuations aren’t sustaining or long-term but we feel it all.
To give some context. When the pandemic first hit we all had buyers and sellers in different phases of their process. There was a moment of breath holding while we poised to read the response from the market. In March there was an almost immediate stop of sales as people hunkered down at home and waited. Very quickly we realized, say the April time frame, that not only was the pandemic not going to hinder real estate sales significantly, that in some ways we would see an escalation of sales. Almost as quickly mortgage rates began to drop and refinancing soared nationwide. We saw some of the lowest mortgage rates in history… dropping below 3%.
Spurred by the low mortgage rates being resumed. Not sure we know any hard data on the fact that we seemed to have had buyers come to Charlotte from the NorthEast. We had an influx of cash sales. Buyers were looking for more room to spread out.
The market seemed to hold its breath again around the election. Then came the news that BioNTech and Pfizer and Moderna are demonstrating vaccines with efficacy rates above 90% in late stage clinical trials.
Now that the election is over and a vaccine seems to be forthcoming we hope to see sellers selling again as we are low on inventory. The buyers are here and ready to buy. A vaccine could get more sellers into the game, as open house and contractual meetings may feel safer. Fall home sales are typically slower but nationwide people are buying properties ahead of last years pace.
According to Market Watch, the news regarding Pfizer’s vaccine candidate caused the average rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to rise six basis points from a record low set the week prior. There are concerns from some analysts that the end of the pandemic would eventually push mortgage rates higher. But we know predictions aren’t a guarantee.
Lending has also been slower than usual and a bit more problematic. Appraisals are coming in really high and really low. We hope to see some back to normal like we were enjoying pre-pandemic now that there is a vaccine forthcoming.
Of course, it will still be months before any vaccine is distributed publicly on a widespread basis. There’s one more factor to consider and that’s NEED. With more companies staying remote, people are looking at ways to make their homes work better in this new future… which could mean remodeling or buying a home with more square feet to accommodate remote work and school.