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Northern Nevada real estate agents optimistic despite social distancing, survey says

Sierra Nevada Realtors

In the midst of a dramatically different environment, there is some uncertainty in the community about the future of the real estate market, both nationally and in our regional area.

To learn more about what’s truly happening in the market, Sierra Nevada Realtors went straight to the source: real estate agents who work in Northern Nevada and primarily do business in Carson, Douglas, Lyon and Churchill counties.

Homes are still being purchased and sold. Of the 55 Realtors who responded to a survey sent to all members of Sierra Nevada Realtors, 49 percent reported that deals are coming together at a rate at least 60 percent of “normal” times. Transactions already in progress are largely still on track to close, with 70 percent of respondents reporting that none of their current deals have been affected by any factors of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teddy Carlson-McKone, real estate agent at INTERO Real Estate in Minden, hasn’t seen much change at this point but is cautiously optimistic.

“We have not seen much change yet in our office, but that could be because we’re still working our existing files. Once those close, we may feel a more noticeable lull. I think that once everything levels out a bit with the COVID-19 scare and the spread is under control, the market will be fine, assuming that rates stay decent,” she said.

Many other real estate agents feel the same: once this health crisis dissipates, the market will bounce back, maybe stronger than before. Interest rates are low and we have a need for housing. Some agents are anticipating a slight price correction, which would make for a great time to buy later this year. Leanndra Carr, broker at Lahontan Properties in Dayton, is confident that housing in Northern Nevada will remain strong because of the influx of tech and industrial jobs.

There are some differences in how business is being conducted in this climate. Many Realtors  are utilizing a “Coronavirus Addendum” to protect buyers and sellers in the event that county recorders’ offices close or that the parties are unable to travel to sign documents.

Real estate business is being conducted more digitally than ever. Dawn Johnson of Coldwell Banker Select in Carson City said, “More activity is being done online. The business is more streamlined and there is not as much nonsense going on.”

Zachary Bonkowski of Chase International in Minden agrees, saying real estate will be a more digital profession going forward. More services in the future will be web-based, possibly including notaries, appraisals, loans, and even showings, Roberta Doyen-Thomas of Coldwell Banker Select predicts.

Because showings are difficult to conduct right now, there have been some fears that sellers will choose not to sell their homes now. However, realtors are reporting otherwise. Roughly three-quarters of sellers are still trying to get their homes sold as planned, in spite of logistical difficulties in showing their homes.

“This market has shown a spotlight on the need for a larger online presence and the necessity for more virtual tours and viewing options,” Amanda Moline, agent at RE/MAX Realty Affiliates in Gardnerville, said.

Buyers are still interested, too, but not in such force. Forty-six percent of buyers who were looking to purchase before the crisis are still actively searching for homes. Another 46 percent have pressed the “pause” button on their home search and plan to start again when this crisis is over. Perhaps the most encouraging, just 8 percent have decided not to buy at all.

The prospect of so many buyers simultaneously re-entering the market once things return to normal is a rousing call for homeowners to consider listing their homes for sale at that time to meet that demand.

“The market will rebound when the crisis is over. I believe that even more people will leave California for more rural areas after this,” Toni Crabtree of Smith Valley Realty shared.

Demand for housing in Northern Nevada has been undeniably strong in the recent past due to an influx of jobs and residents. This demand is tangible and was never caused simply by expectations about the market, as was the case for the housing bubble of 2006 and 2007. Real demand for housing is not likely to simply vanish despite this brief hiatus.

This agent survey was sent to all members of Sierra Nevada Realtors and received 55 responses. Responses were collected between March 20-24.