Great time for potential home buyers during COVID-19 pandemic

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The end of winter is usually a slow time for the housing market, but COVID-19 has extended the slow period into March and now April.

Don Radke, Owner/Broker of FM Realty Group said, “The reality is that most buyers and sellers, right now, don’t want to be out there, understandably.”

Comparison between the housing market in NY in March 2019 vs. March 2020

However, Radke expects a boom in the number of houses available once the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us.

“I know in past springs, part of what brings the market out is just spring fever. Well, if it’s spring fever or summer fever, it’s going to be huge.”

Usually March is when the demand for housing increases, but in Central New York the slow market trend continued in March of 2020.

COVID-19 may be slowing down the housing market, but it has not come to a complete halt.

“If you need to do business, we can help you do business.” Radke said. 

New York State has allowed realtors to continue to do their jobs, but they can not have any in-person contact. So, Radke and his team have moved most of their operations online.

“We are doing a lot virtually. We always have done things virtually, we’re doing more and more,” Radke said. “There are homes being sold, people are buying homes, but the numbers are down, they are way down.”

The number of houses available may be lower than normal, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great time to buy.

“Interest rates today are somewhere around 3.375 percent for a fixed term 30-year mortgage, depending on your credit score,” Radke said. “No, interest rates are crazy low, interest rates are not the problem at all.”

Along with the low-interest rates, sellers are also starting to lower their prices to attract more buyers. Lower housing prices could hurt the market in the long-run, but Radke does not see a situation like 2008 when the housing market completely collapsed.

“I don’t see a 2008 situation,” Radke said. “It’s important to always remember all real estate is local, and if you look at Onondaga County and Central New York it’s a different market. If I was down in New York City or Washington D.C. or Chicago, maybe it would be a little bit different. I don’t think we’re going to see that kind of issue creep up in Central New York.”

If and when we successfully flatten the COVID-19 curve, the financial effects of the virus will still be felt in families across the country.

The reality is some people are not going to get their jobs back. The reality is that some people are going to have less money available. Is that going to hurt housing as well as every other business? Yea. To what extent? We don’t know. I’ve heard economists over the last few days say anything from middle of 2022 to the end of 2023 before things are back to ‘normal.’ Nobody knows.

Don Radke, Owner/Broker of FM Realty Group

It may be years until the country is back to normal, but don’t let that stop you from taking the next step in your life, as it is still a great time to buy a home.

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