Coronavirus statistics are rising.
Interest rates are declining as the stock market dives.
Some businesses are shuttered and schools are closed.
Yet real estate in the county remains active.
“We’re actually up (in sales),” said Amy McElroy with Gaff’s Realty Co. in Port Orange. “There have been more closings this month than last year at the same time.”
Low interest rates certainly help, many Realtors are saying. The fact that much of real estate activity can be done online and on the phone with very little social interaction is also a plus. Even closings can be done online or through the mail. The pandemic has affected rentals, however.
The virus has caused cancellations for many rental units. The Canadian border is closed for non-essential travel and people aren’t traveling as much.
This was confirmed by Sherry Peck Davidson, broker/owner at Peck Realty of Daytona Beach Inc.
“Certainly this has affected our business,” she said. “We’ve had lots of (rental) cancellations. But I’m not sure how much this is affecting sales. We’re showing lots of properties. Considering the state of the economy, you couldn’t buy at a better time.”
It hasn’t stopped people from looking, Ms. Davidson said, though there are no handshakes, less touching and more distance between people when they look at properties. She sells condominiums and said when their cleaning staff goes in to clean, they are told to “sanitize everything.”
Kandi Schromm with RE/MAX Signature said she carries a new travel case with hand wipes, hand sanitizer, booties and disinfectant. She attends all showings of her listings and asks people to “look, but don’t touch.” One of her listings took their home off the market while they “self quarantine.” But there are so many ways to show a listing, she said, with virtual open houses and 3-D virtual tours.
“There are still buyers out there,” Ms. Schromm said. “Things are moving forward. We’re just doing it in a more cautious, socially distant way.”
Cindy Walker with Watson Realty Corp. has lived in New Smyrna Beach for 30 years and been in real estate for 44 years. She joked she is an “oldie but goodie.” But she is serious when it comes to the virus.
“We have 52 offices, and we canceled our sales meetings. We also postponed our sales summit at the Ocean Center (in Daytona),” Ms. Walker said. “People are still looking to buy, but (doing it) more online.
“I think a lot of people prefer smaller cities with less crime, less traffic and less potential for diseases,” she adds. “Sales are still good, though inventory is a little low right now.”
John Adams, president of Adams Cameron & Co. Realtors, said “interest rates are all over the place, just like the market. There is a lot of uncertainty.”
He added they are encouraging agents to use online resources and social media. He asks that they work remotely and communicate with customers remotely as much as possible.
“Hopefully this thing will be short lived and we can hit the ground running,” Mr. Adams said. “But we don’t know what’s ahead. We’re trying to do the best we can for agents and buyers in these circumstances.”