WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The local real estate market is not immune to the coronavirus’ effects, as many people are losing their jobs or taking hits in the stock market due to the outbreak.
Those trends causing a sudden drop off in business for places such as Intracoastal Realty.
“We were on track to have one of the best first quarters we’ve ever had,” said Intracoastal Realty President Trey Wallace. “And that wasn’t just Intracoastal, that was the entire market. We have seen a lot of cancellations or terminations of contracts basically due to the uncertainty in the stock market and the economy.”
Wallace compares the drop to a hurricane or other natural disaster, putting a temporary hold on business.
“Over the last seven days we’ve seen a tremendous drop off in showings, which will eventually lead directly to a drop off in contracts, which will hurt business,” he said.
With showings down 30 to 40 percent compared to this time last year, realtors are taking steps to accommodate buyers who are still interested.
“Often times, there are gloves waiting for us when we get to the door by the sellers,” said broker Michelle Clark. “Or we as agents are bringing gloves and hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes and things to make sure we’re protecting our buyers as well as the sellers.”
Clark says many other businesses can suffer when the real estate market is down.
“We put money into the economy in various ways, whether it’s home inspectors or contractors or realtors or sellers,” she said.
However, Wallace says unlike the real estate crash of 2008, he’s confident the market will bounce back quickly once the pandemic is under control.
“I think that we’re going to have this slowdown period over the next two, three, maybe even four months, possibly longer, I hope not,” Wallace said. “But when it does pop back, I think it will come back with a vengeance, there will be tons of pent-up demand.”
Wallace says mortgage companies will also be hurt as real estate business drops, but so far interest rates have not dropped as low as some expected.