Facing the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peoria-area real estate market slipped a bit in the second quarter. But brokers are still seeing indications of a turnaround.
“We've seen a really active real estate market since early spring,” said Kendra Sipes, president of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors (PAAR). “We did expect things to kind of be a lot slower when our initial shelter-in-place went into effect.”
Home sales from April through June were down 3.1%, with 1,633 closings in the three-month period compared with 1,685 during the same period in 2019. The median sales price increased $7,500 to $127,500.
“We’re actually very pleased with kind of the direction that the sales are going right now,” said Sipes, noting the pandemic has pushed the market about six weeks behind its normal pace.
Sipes said one of the lowest inventories of homes in the last five years has produced a sellers’ market. According to PAAR, only 1,808 homes were on the market at the end of June–a 30% dropoff from the 2,589 properties available at the same time last year.
“We do expect inventory to stay a little bit lower as we continue out through the year,” said Sipes, adding an increase in home values and historically low interest rates also are factors creating a sellers’ market. “This isn't just a local thing. This is a trend that's been going on regionally and then even somewhat nationally over the past year,” she said.
Sipes also pointed to a decline in new home construction, with material availability hampered by the pandemic, contributing to the lower inventory. She said people are making more home improvements to add value to their houses before putting them on the market.
With virtual appointments, tours and open houses becoming common during the pandemic, Sipes said real estate agents had to get used to new procedures.
“We were all kind of adjusting and adopting new technologies and just kind of a new way to work,” she said. “We actually anticipate going forward and into the future that there's going to be a lot more opportunities for buyer virtual tours, virtual appointments with sellers, and things like that … We can definitely be more accommodating.
“So, I definitely see that the virtual tours and the virtual open houses are going to continue whether we kind of stay in a little bit lower restrictions or not. I think this is going to be kind of a future trend in real estate to stay around.”
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