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Things are loosening up with restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay at home order was recently lifted for Texas (5/1). What does that mean for our local Austin, TX real estate market? One thing that dropped precipitously when the stay at home order 1st went into effect were showings for homes that were listed for sale. Here is a map of the U.S. by ShowingTime, one of the largest companies that has software to handle Realtor showings for home listings. Click on the state of Texas to see how dramatic the drop off has been for home showings since the start of COVID. But, over the past few weeks, here has been a steady uptick in buyers wanting to look at homes. Higher buyer activity is critical to getting us back to a normal state. Also, the Austin Board of Realtors just allowed open houses to take place again on May 1st, but we (Realtors) are still navigating the best way to facilitate those given the heightened concern about the virus.
There was a phrase I read recently that I found interesting: “Home is now more important than before” as a result of COVID. With entire families cooped up in their homes for so long, it isn’t any wonder that most of us have had a chance to really feel what it is like to live in our homes. We just thought we knew what it was like. Working from home, home schooling, 24/7 confinement, etc can make us reflect on whether our home is adequate for all of our needs. Smaller homes and “micro apartments” were recently thought to be a trend in real estate. But following the pandemic, many housing experts predict a wave of buyers will want to up-size their homes instead. Americans in many states, hunkered down from sheltering-in-place orders, may have started to feel cooped up. After the Pandemic, Will Consumers Want Larger Housing? explains in more detail.