Central Ohio Real Estate Update, March 2020
A lot has changed since our last market update. The entire country is on lockdown, and despite sobering news coming across our TVs, Twitter feeds, and Instagram stories, there is a glimmer of hope...for home sellers, that is.
COVID-19 has caused hundreds (if not thousands) of sellers to voluntarily pull their homes from the market or hold off on listing. Home inventory, which was already low, has taken a massive hit. And while the number of active buyers has also declined, it's not nearly to the same level as sellers. This unique phenomenon has sparked an epic seller's market in the wake of the pandemic. The average sale price in March was up 10% versus last year, homes sold 2.4% faster, and total inventory is down 14.3%! If you're willing to risk strangers walking through your home for showings, now is actually a good time to be selling.
With that said, talk of reopening the state has begun. Regardless of your opinion on when Ohio should reopen, this will have considerable consequences on the Central Ohio real estate market. The decrease in inventory we're currently experiencing was caused by a temporary event that will eventually pass, and when it does, there will be a mass influx of sellers hitting the market. Since Ohio has deemed real estate an "essential service", even talk of reopening could give some sellers confidence to begin allowing Realtors and prospective buyers into their homes again. This sharp uptick in inventory will likely result in the first real buyer's market of the past 10 years.
The length and severity of this buyer's market will be dictated by two factors. First, how long inventory stays low. We've turned off the spiggot of new listings hitting the market - right now there's about 4 weeks of pent up supply, which isn't too bad. Once we start approaching the 10 week mark, the repercussions will be larger. The second factor is the overall health of the economy. It's still unclear how COVID-19 will impact the the national and global economy, but if this does result in a wide-ranging recession, the buyer's market will likely last much longer.