People are still buying and listing homes during the shutdown

Buyers and sellers have turned to doing home tours over video call
Posted at 3:11 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 23:20:05-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Despite the Governor's stay-at-home order barring realtors from physically showing properties, people are still listing and buying homes at a steady pace.

According to Mike Childress, president of the Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors and office broker at Childress and Associates Realty, says the amount of listings in West Michigan is down only 40% from where it was a year ago.

"From March 14 to April 22 we had 1,032 new listings in the Grand Rapids area, which is, you know, that's a lot of properties really," Childress told FOX 17 Thursday. "People are still getting married, people still having having families and doing different things. Life is still going to be moving and happening. So people are looking to do something.”

And while the Governor's order does bar them from showing clients potential properties in-person, technology is helping to bridge the gap.

“As of a month ago, I think a lot of people got a little nervous and we had a lot of people back off. Just in the past like, maybe 2 weeks, I've seen a lot of my buyers come back around," Ginger Herman, a realtor with Sue Prins Group Five Star Real Estate, told FOX 17.

She says people are coming around to virtually touring homes. Sellers have been able to walk through homes while on video services like Zoom, giving prospective buyers a chance to both look around and ask questions.

"We have both agents on there and then the sellers basically just walking through with their phone showing the house, but that's kept people around," Herman told FOX 17. "It's not just okay, we have a zoom call and nothing's happening about it. We've had a ton of pendings happen. After these Zoom calls, people feel comfortable enough after a seller walks into their house.”

So properties are still being listed, but what does this all mean for prices?

Paul Isely, Associate Dean of GVSU's Seidman College of Business, told FOX 17 Thursday, “At this point, it's anecdotal about prices. But we are hearing that it's not as competitive. And that we've come off of those peak prices that we were starting to see as we were coming into this year, particularly in that middle part of the market.”

But the long-term impact remains to be seen.

“If we really can't get the economy rolling until the end of summer, there's going to be a big downward effect on prices, but it's going to be a transitory effect. As soon as we're able to get out of this recession, which maybe 6 months, maybe a year, maybe a year and a half. We'll start to see those prices come back and here in West Michigan, they'll come back pretty quickly,” Isely said.

Sue Prins Group Five Star Real Estate can be reached at (616) 633-5880 or 6548 Center Industrial Dr, Jenison MI 49428.