BALTIMORE — Almost every market across the country has been impacted by COVID-19. Whether it be the restaurant industry, education system or local businesses. One of the markets that has been able to recover during all of this is the real estate market.
According to Chris Finnegan, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Bright MLS, June was a big month for residential real estate in the Baltimore area. Finnegan says that what the numbers are showing is that buyer demand is really strong during this time.
"You're seeing some of the highest median sales prices in a 10 year period for the Baltimore Metro area," he explained. "The other thing that you're seeing is that when a property comes on the market, it's being snapped up very quickly."
Finnegan says this means the average days a property spends on the market is very small. The amount of properties for sale in Baltimore, is also pretty low.
"While Baltimore is experiencing fairly historic highs in terms of a quick market, in terms of median sales prices being high, you're also seeing historically low inventory," he said. "So the inventory that is out there is going very quickly. It's going for a really nice price. There's just not that much of it at the moment."
"What you're seeing now in June is a return to the trends that we saw at the end of 2019," he said. "2019 was a great year for residential real estate in Baltimore and you saw that trend continue at the beginning of this year, January and February were record months in Baltimore for residential real estate sales, even the first half of March, but it was the second half of March where the COVID effect really kicked in."
The market, unsurprisingly slowed down a lot. Finnegan says what's interesting is that during this time, it's likely that while everybody was quarantining, staying home, observing social distancing, they had the chance to look around at the place where they lived and find out if they wanted to buy a new home.
"People have taken the opportunity while they were indoors in March and then in April to take stock of their homes," Finnegan said. "And now I think that this is leading to an appetite to move that we're seeing reflected in the marketplace."
One of the differences between this market and others is that the real estate market never really had to shut down completely. Even during social distancing, virtual tours and other technology offerings kept the market moving along without having to remain stagnant.
"It's not as if they were shut out to the real estate market, they were able to see what was out there," Finnegan explained. "They were able to still gauge what the market was offering so that when some of the restrictions were lifted and it was okay to go outside with your mask on, they were ready to buy."
He says that's a big contributor to the uptick that was seen in June.
Rates during this time are low and while there's not a tremendous amount of properties out there, if you find what you want, it's a great time.
"Conversely, if you're looking to sell it is a great time because you've got so many folks that are out there looking to buy they're motivated from the quarantine, plus they understand that the rates give them a great opportunity to get in there."
In terms of a complete recovery, Finnegan says this is dependent on a few things. One of which being containing the spread of the virus. He says that one of the things to pay attention to is the spring market, as in residential real estate, that's the apex of the year. A lot of the normal activity of the spring marketplace was put on hold because of COVID.
Those properties are eventually going to come onto the market.
"What's going to be really interesting to see, is does the delayed spring market, does that mean a huge fall market? What's the fourth quarter going to look like? What's the end of the summer going to look like?"
He continues saying that it's a matter of when not if, because these properties are eventually going to hit the market and ideally that's going to boost the inventory levels, which are a little bit low right now.
Finnegan says that when those houses do hit the market, they're going to be met by a lot of folks that want to buy, because they've had time to think about it and they know what they want.