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Austin Real Estate Market amid the Corona Virus April 2020

Greetings all… a quick post to our friends, clients and website visitors.

Melinda and I hope you are all well, staying safe, and taking care of yourselves and family. For those of you in essential businesses and especially the Medical fields, thank you so much for what you are doing for all of us! We are forever grateful for your sacrifices and frankly, bravery.

Over the past few weeks, several of you have reached out to ask me my thoughts on the housing market…. as sellers or buyers, renters or investors. I can briefly summarize my thoughts and expectations – however, I have to answer the way my attorney friends answer – that’s to preface any projections with the words “it depends”.

“It depends”?
What that means is simple.
The answer is dependent upon how long the CV-19 virus handcuffs local, state, regional, national and global economies.
Real estate is ‘local’ for the most part but it’s driven by confidence. Confidence is driven by jobs and income. If jobs / income go down in a (you can enter a time frame here – as it depends) recession, confidence will be lost and home sales will likely drop in several price channels (price bands).

“The best scenario”
Let’s say we have a short pause in the economy…. 2-3 months, CV-19 is controlled, a vaccine is approved and rolled out, and the majority of the population gets back to work 100% by August. Confidence would replace uncertainty. That would be awesome. If this becomes a prolonged ‘pause’, obviously the opposite would be more likely.

“Our economy”
As you all probably can guess, Austin is in much better shape than other cities employment wise, and for the high-tech individuals, they may be able to work online from home. Obviously, not all workers can just go online. The service industries appear to be impacted the most right now (retail, restaurants, hotels (@ < 5% occupancy downtown) for example.
Housing wise, we have a lack of resale inventory and builders are not going gangbusters right now. Low inventory plus continuity in employment (even if from home), could contribute to prices holding their own for a period of time. (caveat – it depends).

Those are my thoughts – however, as we have not done anything like this before, I’m taking a somewhat educated guess. After all, I did get a minor in Economics in college 😉 lol.  For an expert’s opinion and projections…. I give you Mark Sprague, State Director of Information Capital with Independence Title. His latest blog post link appears below.

My thanks to Mary Tran with Independence for providing the link today.

For sellers or landlords in the near term, we are recommending virtual tours, virtual open houses, even if the property is vacant. If the property is occupied, we are suggesting block times for physical visits – for example, “….showings this Saturday from 2-4pm, 10 minute gaps between groups by appointment only – social distancing rules apply”. Property surfaces should be cleaned prior to and immediately following showing windows. Some sellers are having their properties cleaned professionally every day. Properties should also have hand sanitizer and booties available at the door. Of course, if anyone is not feeling 100%, no showings or visitors should be allowed. Unfortunately, it all depends.

Feel free to email me back with thoughts or comments, suggestions or criticism ( I can take it) … or just to let us know you are okay. Because right now, that is most important to us. We are doing okay, keeping a smile on our face and doing our best to not gain an extra 15 lbs.

#BeSafe, #BeStrong, #StayHome