MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - This is an important time of year for the real estate market. The spring season is a popular time to buy and sell a house.
As the coronavirus pandemic began, there was concern that the housing market would suffer in its biggest season. New analysis from Zillow shows that despite a little dip around the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, real estate interest is rebounding.
Alabama is moving right along with that trend, if not even better than the national numbers.
“The spring season so far has been very strong, when we look at our March numbers across the state, those are up. That’s very encouraging, that’s factoring in three weeks of the pandemic when you look at the last three weeks of March,” said Jeremy Walker, CEO of Alabama Association of Realtors. “I think during the height of this, we’ve seen some delayed activity and where buyers and people that were interested in selling have moved online instead of virtual. So the pandemic and fear have certainly driven a lot of that traffic online, but it has not eliminated activity altogether.”
Just like every other industry, realtors have been forced to make some major adjustments, along with home buyers and sellers. Walker believes many of those adjustments will stick around long after this pandemic is over.
“It’s really moved technology ahead five years, as members have adapted, so it’s hard to see some of this go away in the future. We’re seeing transactions go from contract to close in as soon seven days, and that’s really unheard of,” Walker said. “So consumers are showing up at the property to do a final checkoff, instead of going to see five or six houses in person, a lot of that is happening virtually, so it’s almost the final test drive, if you will, by the time they get to the physical inspection of the property.”
Walker and realtors around Alabama believe that despite the pandemic and the challenges it's posed, this spring will turn out to be positive for them.
“There’s a great deal of optimism. When we look at this economic downturn, the optimism stems from this was self-induced. This was not a result of a bubble. This was very much like a car driving 80 mph down the road and the government pulled the emergency brake and put the car in park,” Walker explained. "This was self-induced and we’re very optimistic that the fundamentals are strong, interest rates are at all-time lows, access to capital is very wide and plentiful for borrowers who are interested in buying. So that gives us a great deal of optimism. And then consumer confidence. With the number of consumers that are out there looking at homes in the market, interested, calling our agents, it’s very encouraging.
“We expect we may see a delayed spring season on the buying market, so there may be pent up demand where people have not been out in the market for the last six weeks, but they’re kind of waiting for that opportunity.”