Albany area Realtors expect quick recovery from pandemic
The shutdown imposed by the coronavirus pandemic may have caused an abrupt drop in the real estate business, but early indications show the recovery will come just as quickly.
"Depending on where you are, we have been seeing multiple offers the first day the listing is on the market and the house selling for more than asking," said Faye Falvo Rispoli of Remax Solutions and a real estate agent for 29 years, all with RE/MAX.
"There is a pent up demand because interest rates are under 3%. You can buy and have a nice home for cheaper than paying rent," Rispoli said.
One of Rispoli's seller clients, Kris Gregory, put her house in Niskayuna on the market at the beginning of March. It was attracting interest until the shutdown, when everything came to a halt. The Gregorys, whose children are now grown, put their four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath Colonial on the market because they were building a new house, also in Niskayuna.
"I didn't worry at first because we had a while to go before the new house would be ready," Gregory said. "In mid-May I did start to worry because the closing on the new house was scheduled."
The Gregorys dropped the price on their house by $20,000.
"We had people go through the house before we were really comfortable with it," Gregory said.
Even though the potential buyers wore masks, gloves and booties, Gregory cleaned the whole house after each showing. But the listing quickly received multiple offers in early June and sold for slightly more than the asking price, $419,900. A closing is now scheduled for the end of July.
Rispoli said during the shutdown, before real estate agents could resume in-person business in phase two of re-opening in New York, she used the BombBomb app to send video emails, and hosted open houses via video conferences. Now, agents may host open houses under several conditions — anyone who comes in has to be prequalified, and they must sign a letter saying they do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Rispoli said she's not quite ready to host open houses.
"What kind of normal we are going to get back to, I don't think anyone really knows, but it can't last forever," she said.
Housing activity fell sharply in May during the pandemic, new figures from Global Multiple Listing Service show.
Sales of single-family homes fell by 35% from year-earlier levels in the multicounty area that includes the Capital Region. Pending sales were down 23%, while new listings fell by 39%.
But prices held up, with the median sale price climbing 9% to $234,950 from $215,200 a year earlier.
Sales were down 30% in Albany County, 31% in Rensselaer County, 39% in Saratoga County and 43% in Schenectady County.