For home sales, August is the new May, keeping agents busy into the fall

Rather than a typically busy spring home-buying season, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the bulk of home-buying this year into the summer months, and real estate agents are busier than ever.

According to the National Association of Realtors, contract signings kicked off strong in August, with the most contract signings last week in the Midwest, at 21%. The South followed, at 20%; the Northeast at 13%; but the West actually declined, by 4%.

As new contract signings are outpacing new listings due to low inventory, properties sold typically within 26 days in the four weeks leading up to August 2, NAR said.

Since homebuying season was pushed back from this spring, realtor.com’s Housing Market Recovery Index reported that August is the new May. Homes on the market sold four days faster year over year, as total inventory is down 35%.

Now, agents are showing and selling nonstop.

Terry Story, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Services in East Boca Raton, Florida, told HousingWire that business is exponentially busier now than at the beginning of the year, pre-pandemic.

“. . . then about mid-May, it just accelerated,” Story said. “Everybody came out of the woodwork and it just keeps getting faster and faster and faster. [And] we’re selling property to people sight-unseen out of the area.”

Story also said that because there is low inventory in Boca Raton, a lot of homes are part of bidding wars.

Single-family homes are the hottest in Boca Raton right now, as many city dwellers are making their way down south and moving into bigger homes.

As for the rest of the year, Story said that historically, the market would slow down in September or October, but amidst the pandemic it’s unclear what is going to happen this year.

“I don’t know that we’re going to see a slowdown,” Story said. “. . . we anticipate that the market’s going to stay like that for a while. It started off with pent-up demand, where we didn’t have any inventory so we didn’t have any activity for a couple months.”

Steve Beaupre, an agent with Compass in San Diego, said the same thing Story said – more sellers are raising asking prices more than they’re worth, and they’re buying sight-unseen, thanks to virtual tours.

“As people have been coming back on the market, you’re seeing houses go for prices that are way over asking, and buyers kind of willing to do anything and everything they can to secure a property because it is so competitive,” Beaupre said.

For Beaupre, the San Diego market has been “on fire.”

“Spring’s homebuying season, and as opposed to people thinking we didn’t get spring, it was just deferred, so we have both spring and summer now because the world was in such a unique spot when this started,” Beaupre said.

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