Updated: Oct 28, 2020
Despite the uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic, Georgia's real estate is now a seller’s market. If you have been thinking of listing your home, now is the time.
To be sure, 2020 has already secured its place in the record books as “the year of unpredictability.” The feeling of uncertainty continues to hang like a pall
over our economy. Despite the multitude of unknowns and the guarded attitude we all
share, however, one thing is abundantly clear: when it comes to the real estate market, especially in Georgia, now is the time to sell. If you’ve been thinking about selling, here are the top five reasons to put your house on the market.
There Just Aren’t That Many Available Properties
Low housing inventory has been a chronic issue going back to the great recession of 2008. Tighter lending regulations put the brakes on new housing starts and, as a result, the need for new housing outstripped what was available. The immediate result of the coronavirus pandemic initially worsened this trend. Sellers, uncertain about the economy and what would happen to property values, pulled already listed homes from the market. In many places, physical meetings between realtors, sellers, and buyers were prohibited. Real estate markets are reopening with fewer available properties to list.
This trend is going to change, however, as many metro area are posed to see vacation homes and Airbnb rentals come onto the market. In the latest reports, Atlanta home listings increased 10% over a month. Now is the time to list.
Home Prices Are High in Georgia, But Not Too High
The same factors that resulted in a low inventory also caused the value of homes to increase. In the last 12 months, the median value of all homes in Georgia has risen 7.5%. This continues a 30-year trend. In the last five years, the average value of homes in Georgia has risen by 42%. In the last quarter, during the height of the pandemic, home values increased by 1.28%. This is not to say that Georgia's homes are overpriced. Indeed, Georgia ranks #18 in the Moody’s Analytics and the U.S. Census Bureau report of housing affordability, meaning Georgia homes are more affordable than comparable homes in 32 US states.
Investors and Homeowners Are Looking
As is always the case when there is an economic downturn, investors who are seeking distressed properties emerge in great numbers. The financial woes caused by the pandemic are different than a typical recession, however, in that most lending institutions are granting forbearance to homeowners who are unable to fulfill their mortgage agreements. Competition among investors for the fewer available homes has been driving market prices up across the board.
Those potential homeowners who were hoping to relocate before the Covid-19 outbreak are reemerging as a buying force, joined by additional large numbers of seasonal buyers who need to relocate. Thus, there is a high demand for a few houses and the available homes have increased in value: the classic seller’s market.
The Selling Process Has Been Streamline Due to the Coronavirus
Another hallmark of 2020 is innovation. The education, food services, and health care industries, among many others, had to make drastic changes to continue serving our communities. Just so, realtors have made great strides in innovating. While the community-wide Open House is not in use these days, virtual tours have become the norm. Many realtors are encouraging potential buyers to seek loan pre-approval, which speeds the process and cuts down on human interaction. For those who wish to tour a home, agents often furnish “show kits,” with masks, booties, gloves, and sanitizer to make both buyers and sellers feel more comfortable. The result of the innovation is a faster, simpler buying process.
Then There Are Those Interest Rates
As of July 2020, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was as low as 2.99%. For those wanting to purchase a home, the likelihood of ever getting a better interest rate is extremely unlikely. With the economy poised to reopen and the forces of stagnation and uncertainty beginning to melt away, the remaining question facing potential home sellers is, “Will there ever be a better time to list your house for sale?”