|We can all agree that things have been a little crazy out there lately. Some people may even say these times have been scary. The rapid spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the impact that this health crisis is having on our day to day life has been stressful for all of us. And while concerns over our health, the health of our loved ones, and everyone’s safety has been the main topic of conversation – we have also had a lot of clients and friends reaching out with questions about what impact this crisis is having on today’s housing market.
While we aren’t sure exactly what the future holds, we know what is happening in the market for us currently – today. There are three things that we think you all should know, and that we want to share with you.
The Market is Still Moving Despite Coronavirus
While many people feared that the Coronavirus would have a detrimental effect on the housing market, we have not personally seen this to be the case yet. With the help of the California Association of Realtors (CAR), the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors (SCCAR), and our brokerage David Lyng, we have all been working hard to ensure that home buying and home selling is a safe process for our clients through this time. And with proper precautions in place, we have seen both buyers and sellers continue to move forward on real estate transactions.
Santa Cruz County, like many other California counties, is on a mandatory shelter-in-place order. With this order naturally, some aspects of buying or selling a home are going to slow down. Activities outside the home should be limited to essential activities only.
Therefore, if you are already in contract on a home purchase it is considered essential to continue with routine inspections and due diligence, per the timelines laid out in your Residential Purchase Agreement. If your home is already listed on the market, it is okay to continue to engage in essential duties required for your listing agreement between you and your agent.
We do not currently recommend in-person showings or open houses during this coronavirus pandemic. However, this does not mean our buyers are not still actively looking for their next home. The Mower Group, along with many of our colleagues, are now aiding buyers with virtual tours of homes. This and other creative avenues help to pass the time in a constructive manner and still work towards reaching that end goal – a new place to call home.
Interest Rates! Interest Rates! And More on Interest Rates!
While interest rates may be the last thing on the minds of many, this is actually a very applicable and important topic in regards to the real estate market. The Federal Reserve has been working hard to shield the economy from the coronavirus health crisis. Their stimulus plan included quite a few policies to aid financial markets, and one of these was another slash to interest rates.
Mortgage rates are low right now – but don’t worry about rushing to refinance immediately. Many economic analysts think they will go even lower, but this is not certain. The Federal Reserve just cut borrowing costs to nearly zero on Sunday. However, it will take time for the lower rates to filter through the economy.
This doesn’t mean mortgage interest rates will be zero. However, the Federal Reserve’s key short-term rate affects 30-year mortgages and other long-term rates indirectly. Mortgage rates are low right now, and if they do end up going even lower, this is significant for home buyers. Whether you are looking to purchase a new home, or refinance your current mortgage loan, now may be the right time. Many people are already taking advantage of this, with reports of mortgage applications surging in the past month.
If you are wondering if you are eligible to refinance, or want to know what purchase price you could qualify for under these new mortgage interest rates, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Mower Group. We work with an amazing mortgage broker who we are confident can help any of our clients and friends with their lending needs.
Spring Cleaning = Listings That are Gleaming!
All of this time required in our homes is a perfect opportunity to catch up on those household chores and projects we’ve all let slide. Are you planning on listing your home this spring or summer? Now is the perfect time to spend your days cleaning out closets, organizing garages and sheds, and even working on some landscaping and gardening. The more effort you put into keeping your home clean, safe, and esthetically pleasing, the bigger your reward will be when you decide to sell.
Our homes are our safe havens, now more than ever! They need our love and attention too, and we think this is a perfect opportunity to invest your time and energy into your home. Whether you are planning to sell or you intend to stay where you are for many more years to come, we hope you can find a way to use this time to improve your most valuable asset – your home.
We’re All In This Together
We know that this time is filled with uncertainties. Change can be scary, but it is important to remind ourselves and each other that we have all dealt with and survived change before. We have never encountered anything quite like coronavirus before, at least not in our lifetime. However, we have all weathered many “storms” together and we would like to remind you of a few.
As a county, we have battled flooding and most recently severe storm damage and mudslides in 2017. As a state, we have battled California wildfires, and have all come together many times to support those displaced and in need. And as a nation, we have battled hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and the devastation of the September 11th attacks in 2001. In each of these instances, we experienced fear, panic, and distress. But in each one, we also experienced love, comradery, and humanity.
We are confident that as a county, a state, a nation, and a world – we will overcome this global health crisis too. Everyone, please do your best to keep your head high, your spirits up, and please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you need any help during this time.