Housing market healthy despite virus | Coronavirus

WINCHESTER — The regional real estate market continues to be in good shape despite concerns surrounding COVID-19.

Within Winchester and the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah and Warren, the number of active homes on the market and those under contract or pending sale are on the rise, according to data from Bright MLS, a real estate listing service.

“In general, I have found it really puzzling that it seems in the real estate market that buyers and sellers and agents even are taking it as business as usual,” said Beth Waller, a Warren County-based Realtor with Keller Williams. “The virus has not invaded the industry as much as I anticipated at all.”

A breakdown of regional data as of Wednesday showed:

Winchester City: four units coming soon; 55 active; 66 under contract/pending.

Clarke County: three units coming soon; 51 active; 35 under contract/pending.

Frederick County: nine units coming soon; 322 active; 311 under contract/pending.

Shenandoah County: six units coming soon; 132 active; 126 under contract/pending.

Warren County: 11 units coming soon; 167 active; 150 under contract/pending.

For all five localities, 429 units were sold in April and 435 units were sold in May. The median listing price for the region in April sat at $276,000 but rose to $289,900 in May. Units in the region sold for a median price of $264,900 in April and $275,000 in May, showing plenty of negotiation with sale price.

“Overall, the industry is booming, and the past week or so I have seen a notable increase in the amount of calls I’ve received from people who do not have to buy or sell but are just considering it,” Waller said. “The more recreational buyers are finally starting to feel comfortable getting in the market even when it’s not imperative for their life that they move.”

Low interest rates may be helping buyers find new homes. As of Wednesday, a 30-year mortgage rate in Virginia was listed at 3.375% by U.S. Bank.

“The houses are selling faster than I’ve ever seen. We don’t have enough homes for the buyers out there,” said Kerri Lane Mariano, a Realtor with ERA OakCrest in Winchester. “I’m trying to find sellers now that want to take advantage of the flurry of buyers enticed by the low interest rates. The pandemic has not slowed down the sales.”

The Virginia Realtors website suggests current buyers could be those with “very secure jobs” while others could be continuing to take a “wait-and-see approach.”

Waller, though, said there are plenty of motivated buyers and sellers, driven by different phases of life.

“I have been flabbergasted at how the only consistency I’ve seen in this market is that buyers and sellers are driven to being so personable and have been reminded at the fact that life is…

Read MoreHousing market healthy despite virus | Coronavirus

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