Coronavirus has temporarily shut nations down, dramatically altered economic landscapes and forced many industries to shift focus, downsize or even close up shop altogether. Yet in Atlanta there is a trend that is significantly different than most of the country as there remains a part of the economy that is still prospering, the residential real estate market. Why? Because as other cities shuttered businesses that were considered non-essential, Realtors in Atlanta petitioned Georgia’s Governor Kemp and Atlanta’s Mayor Bottoms to make sure everyone from agents to appraisers would be able to keep their doors open. According to USA Today, as a result of this coordinated cooperation, Atlanta is one of a rare group of cities that saw real estate listings and new inventory grow in the first week of April compared with the same period a year earlier, a remarkable achievement considering that almost every major metropolitan area in the country saw a sharp drop in those categories over the same period.
The Pivot That Took Place
Necessity is the mother of invention is a modern proverb you are probably familiar with. As the need for changing the rules in buying and selling real estate has become imperative during this unprecedented time, Realtors have been forced to find ways of assisting their buyers and sellers differently than before.
Furnished with gloves, masks and disinfectant for both themselves and their clients, Atlanta real estate agents began showing property in person not too long after other big-city real estate markets had started to take a tumble. Realtors are going to homes ahead of time and turning on all the lights, opening all the doors and manipulating anything else to ensure their buyers won’t have to touch anything. They are also riding separately in cars and foregoing the cultural professional norm of handshakes, hugs or any other physical touch as a greeting.
Georgia Association of Realtors also went a step beyond and worked with attorneys to include a new COVID-19 stipulation in contracts that basically states buyers and sellers can extend deadlines (although not indefinitely) should a coronavirus related event occur to either responsible party. It provides a safety net for both parties that has never existed before.
Catching The Next Wave
The wave of the real estate future was already in progress but the coronavirus has accelerated it to the next level. This wave is of course technology. Realtors are using their smartphones more than ever as Facetime and the like have become prominent showing tools for clients who may not wish to view homes in person. Virtual tours are also quickly becoming more prevalent as they have become more advanced, some even offering 3D technology. Almost every aspect of the homebuying and selling process can now be done virtually with the exceptions of home inspections and appraisals.
All of these aforementioned steps taken have allowed Atlanta real estate to remain strong, and some would contend the market is healthier than ever due to the fact that the buyers who are currently looking are those that are strictly doing so out of necessity. Many sellers are requiring pre-approval letters before allowing a showing and therefore ensuring a ready, willing and able buyer is walking through their door. Additionally, and just as importantly, two other factors come into play; metro Atlanta’s traditionally more affordable median home price compared to other large cities (average $300K) and historic low interest rates (3-4% for a 30 year fixed rate).
First Multiple Listing Service of Georgia reports that through April 1-May 10, Fulton, Cobb and Cherokee Counties have 3,353 active listings, 760 under contract and 2,631 closed. Clearly the Atlanta real estate market is healthy and remains fairly steady. Fears that the global pandemic would collapse Atlanta’s housing market have not come to pass. Not only is this due to the fact that inventory was fairly tight before the country locked down, at around the two-month supply level, but due to the extraordinarily fast and efficient measures undertaken by Georgia real estate professionals.
We Can Help
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, now is clearly still the time to do it in Atlanta. The Meridian Real Estate Group has been assisting clients for well over a decade and would love the privilege of earning your business. Our goal is not just to help you through a transaction, but to actually support the building of your financial legacy through real estate. Call us today at 678-631-1723 or visit us online at www.themeridianway.com. We look forward to serving you.