RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The economy took a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, but one industry that is still thriving is real estate. If you’re looking to buy a home, now is the time, says Asha Wright of Icon Realty Group in Richmond.
“COVID-19 has affected interest rates– so low interest rates are driving a lot buyers to purchase right now,” explained Wright.
Along with low interest rates, low inventory and high demand are also pushing home sales across central Virginia, she said.
“The market right now is extremely competitive. Every time we’re writing a contract on a house there may be ten other families writing contracts as well,” said Wright.
The pandemic has forced Wright to stop allowing clients to ride with her to view properties, and she is also enforcing social distancing guidelines
“Maintaining a safe environment — we always have to wear our mask, hand sanitizers, gloves, and booties for your shoes,” according to Wright. “Just making sure you’re clearing your tracks and making sure every home you go into, you’re leaving it safe and harm free for the next appointment.”
Since other industries are suffering due to the pandemic, many would be surprised to find out how active the local real estate industry is for buyers and sellers.
“Right now, we have a sellers’ market – basically saying there is a lot less inventory out there accumulating a lot of buyers,” said Wright.
Data from the Central Virginia Regional MLS show that in Chesterfield County, pending sales are up 11.7% percent from last year and Hanover is seeing an 17.5% increase in closings. The City of Richmond and Henrico County are seeing lower closing rates, but an increase in pending sales.
Ann Bartley of North Chesterfield did what many would find unthinkable — selling and buying a home during a pandemic.
“We put our house on the market on a Friday and we got four offers by Sunday night. We looked at it on a Thursday the next week– by Saturday we had put down an offer and they accepted it,” said Bartley
Bartley moved 18 houses up the road to accommodate her growing family.
“We have a little more space and the kids have a little playroom which now actually also their virtual learning room– so that’s been wonderful plus the extra space for my mother-in-law who recently moved in with us,” said Bartley.
With the real estate industry booming in most localities in central Virginia, Bartley said the reason her family decided to stay in Chesterfield County was simple.
“We knew we wanted to stay in our county because our kids are in school and we wanted to keep them in their same school district if we could.”
But Wright expects the market to correct itself at some point.
“Every high experiences a low,” she said.