We hope that as you read this blog, you and your family are in good health and good spirits. These are certainly extraordinary times that we are living through, and the Shelter in Place (SIP) order has been challenging to say the least. We know that many of you have had to make significant life changes such as homeschooling, working from home and or not working at all.
Our hearts go out to everyone, as there is no one that is unaffected by this pandemic in one way or another.
For the first week of the SIP, we tried to maintain our sanity by hiking the gorgeous Pleasanton ridge several times with Perla, our puppy mascot, and a couple of friends – staying 6 feet apart, of course! That all came to an end prematurely, at least for one of us, two and a half weeks ago, when a dog collided with Gina’s knee while running at full speed.
Say it with me… “Ouch!”
That collision resulted in a fractured knee and five strained ligaments, so she’s been on crutches and mostly confined to the house without the luxury of going on walks ever since. Maybe that’s for the best… since the SIP restrictions have tightened. She’s going a bit stir crazy. We assume that she’s not the only one!
Thankfully, we are happy to report that she’s healing nicely! Soon she’ll be “able-to-go-out-but-not-allowed” rather than “can’t-go-out-even-if-it-were-allowed”.
Despite this little accident, we are very grateful to be healthy otherwise and feel so bad for those whose lives are truly being turned upside down by this event, whether it be from health-related issues or because of financial devastation. Let’s hope this passes quickly for everyone’s sake. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and stay sane.
As one would expect, the real estate market has changed dramatically as a result of the SIP order. Most buyers have decided to sit on the sidelines until this situation passes, and many sellers have opted to withdraw their homes from the market temporarily or not put their homes on the market until the SIP is lifted. We had three houses on the market at the time the SIP was put in place and all three of them were temporarily removed from the market as a result of no showings and very, very few phone or email inquiries.
Despite real estate being deemed an essential industry, the rules for showing homes have been changed and become so restrictive that it is not possible to show a home unless it is vacant. Inventory levels are low for this time of the year but are surprisingly high considering the circumstances. But, the number of days on the market for the active homes are very high, because very few homes are going pending, as compared to a normal market.
Here’s a snapshot of current inventories of active homes as compared to last April’s numbers shown in the brackets:
Pleasanton: 65 (107) – Dublin: 53 (107) – Danville: 97 (129)
Alamo: 30 (52) – Livermore: 86 (134) – San Ramon: 64 (124)
Here’s a snapshot of homes that have gone pending since the SIP order. We would estimate these numbers to be about 20% – 40% of what we would see in a typical April market.
Pleasanton: 20 – Dublin: 19 – Danville: 28 – Alamo: 4 Livermore: 43 – San Ramon: 23
Nobody really knows what effect this is going to have on the market. In our opinion, the effect is going to depend on how quickly the SIP is lifted and the economy is opened up. The longer that the economy is shut down, the worse the effect will be.
There is a lot of chaos in the mortgage market right now and fear that it could trigger another major crisis in the broader banking system. We are optimistically confident that we can all get back to work in early May and hopefully avert such a disaster. If so, we think that we’ll see a small dip in values but a relatively quick rebound. There will certainly be a lot of pent up supply once the order is lifted, so we’ll likely see a flood of homes coming on the market, which will be beneficial for buyers.
Financing for some buyers will likely be more difficult for quite some time after the SIP is lifted, as lenders try to sort out the forbearance agreements, deferred payments, etc. As it stands today, Jumbo financing and financing for people with credit scores less than 680 have become much more restrictive and more expensive than before, because of the increased risk and lack of appetite for such loans in the secondary market. Banks are much more comfortable with the government-backed loans right now.
So while we still continue to be sheltered in place, we pray that you and your family stay safe and healthy, that you are able to find that binge-worthy show on Netflix, that you finish that 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, that you are able to take advantage of the local take-out and delivery food options, that you can still keep track of what day it is, that your jeans still fit, that your supply of toilet paper continues to be plentiful, and that you appreciate and are grateful for what you have in this moment.
To the first responders, to the nurses, doctors, and veterinarians, to the grocery store employees, to all essential workers that are doing your part, putting your lives on line to make sure we can all keep some semblancy of normal around here, we thank you. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
Finally, if anyone who is reading this blog needs any sort of assistance with anything, especially if you are in a high-risk group, please let us know. Do you need us to run an errand for you? Please let us know. Do you need anything for your home? Please let us know. Do you need someone to talk to or have a virtual glass of wine with? Please let us know. Anything? Please let us know.
From our family to yours, we wish you the best.
Your Elation Real Estate Team
~You’ll know how to find us… no compass needed!