Summit County gets a lot of visitors every year. It is a hot spot for skiing, hiking and all sorts of outdoor recreation. Tourists flock here from all over the world. With the pandemic going on, a lot of people familiar with the area want to know what is happening in Summit County. Are we under stay at home orders, are businesses open, are people still buying real estate? For those of you anxious to be navigating the Summit County real estate market once again, here’s our local report.
Summit County Stay at Home Order
Summit County has basically had a stay at home order for about 10 days now. They didn’t call it a stay at home order but it essentially is. It shut down non-essential businesses and restaurants could only offer take out or delivery options. They also gave a few days notice to get all the tourists out of town. All hotels and short term rentals were directed to close their doors and visitors to vacate. At the same time, all public transportation including Uber & airport shuttles would cease.
Colorado Issues Stay at Home Order
Just recently, the state of Colorado enacted a stay at home order. However, real estate and related services are classified as an essential or critical business and able to continue to do business with the necessary precautions. The new order will, as it should, keep more people at home and not out looking at property unless it’s necessary. It does allow for real estate agents, appraisers and inspectors to continue to work and for title companies to continue to aid in real estate transactions.
Initial Real Estate Impact
We’ve been watching the market closely, anticipating some change in activity. We have seen very little change, however, in the day to day numbers. A substantial number of properties continue to go under contract and others come on the market every day. Although, we do have a higher than typical number of sales falling apart and properties coming off the market altogether as the uncertainty grows and restrictions tighten everywhere. Over the last three days, 28 properties have been listed for sale, 11 others have gone under contract, 9 have sales that fell apart and 9 more have pulled their property off the market. Even in the midst of a pandemic, Summit County real estate is still a pretty active scene.
Upcoming Real Estate Impact
I think the number of March sales will come very close to March sales one year ago. Most of the properties closing in March were closed or very close to closing when this pandemic broke loose. April real estate sales will surely feel the hit but exactly how much remains to be seen. There are currently 349 residential properties under contract in Summit County. 53% of those have been under contract for months. Most are new construction and aren’t available to close anytime soon. If we could get two-thirds of the remaining under contract properties to close in April, we would have 109 sales, a respectable amount, and just a 20% drop from 2019. Of course, we don’t know how long our current circumstances will continue, but it is still possible the real estate market will come out of this relatively unscathed and pick back up where it left off.
Navigating the Current Market
It seems logical to expect buyer activity to change and adapt rather than stop. While staying at home, buyers will likely be surfing the web checking out homes online. Watching videos of homes and analyzing floorplans like never before. They will be asking questions of their agent to fill in the blanks they cannot quite figure out from the sofa. Mentally, they are making a list of those they would like to see when all this comes to pass. If they happen to find a serious contender, a virtual showing is still possible. They can see the home with their agent through video conferencing apps like Skype. Lenders are still working from their home offices and are able to collect all the information needed to pre-qualify a buyer. When needed, the lenders can continue the process, securing a new mortgage, and getting a buyer into their new, Summit County home. All of this can happen safely, without a face to face meeting.
In the Summit County market, it is not uncommon to see a scenario like the one I just mentioned. Buyers are often in another state or country and aren’t readily available to handle things in person. The technology to make it possible to buy and sell from afar has been in place for a while now. We regularly use electronic signatures, videos and photos, phone, text and email services to communicate with both buyers and sellers. During this pandemic, it is still possible for buyers and sellers to move forward with their real estate goals if that is what they choose.
Seize the Opportunity
We are in an unpredictable time. At some point, this will come to pass and we can feel normal again. Until then, we should do what we can to make ourselves feel as normal as possible without endagering others. Have a staycation with your household. Catch up on all those things you have been wanting to do at home. Find that second home in Summit County via the internet and technology. Whatever you decide to do, make the most of this opportunity that, with any luck, we will never have to go through again.