Local real estate market slows amid COVID-19 pandemic

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The coronavirus is impacting virtually every area of California’s economy, including real estate.

March would normally be a moneymaker for realtors like Doug Reynolds.

“Historically in Sacramento, we usually have a really strong spring market. So it starts getting really competitive,” Reynolds told FOX40.

But rather than ramping up, “For Sale” signs are coming down and some buyers are holding off.

In the past 10 days, sellers have pulled 216 homes off the market in Sacramento County. Compare that to the same timeframe last year, when there were just 78 listings put on hold or canceled, according to the state’s real estate data.

Many realtors say the coronavirus is the cause.

“There would have been no reason (to cancel). Properties were just selling so quickly. There were so many offers,” said Reynolds.

But some buyers see opportunity amid the pandemic.

“You’re looking at 3.25% for a mortgage rate right now. I mean, holy cow, who wouldn’t love to have that rate on their mortgage?” said Reynolds.

Realtors point out that competition is virtually at a standstill among buyers. But with a stay-at-home order across the state, open houses can’t happen.

So Reynolds is turning to technology.

“(We’re) FaceTiming with the sellers and they’re literally spending an hour walking around the house with their phone showing them everything,” explained Reynolds.

He’s also relying on Matterport 3D virtual tours, using 360 cameras to capture images from all rooms in a house so potential buyers can take a tour from their computer screens.

“Thankfully we’re in a place where technology is there to help with this,” said Reynolds.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday that mortgage applications plunged nearly 30% last week.

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