Depending on how you mark it, we in West Michigan have just passed 15 months since the start of the pandemic.
It has changed everything from our day-to-day and economics to our health considerations and political discourse. It has affected the real estate market, as well. However, like all pandemics before it, this too will come to an end. In many areas of life, including the real estate space, that end is in sight.
In real estate, many changes have been accelerated by the pandemic. Expanded use of video conferencing and virtual showings, remote signing opportunities to complete transactions and accommodation for health and safety concerns are all part of a paradigm shift that will stay with us.
Additionally, most people are increasingly ready to move ahead with life plans. We see it on a national level and here locally. Restaurants are open, sports stadiums are again hosting fans, offices are open for in-person work and people continue to move toward activity. With the presence of the vaccine and continued safe habits, a shift to post-pandemic times is underway. As a real estate community, we can feel the hope and responsibility of that shift. Here is what we anticipate:
With safety measures in place, we anticipate an incremental increase in listing inventory and activity from sellers. Sellers who have wanted to ride out the pandemic in residence or who have been reluctant to have people inside their homes for showings or open houses during the health crisis are now looking to move ahead.
Stimulus will continue to show up in real estate
The trillions of dollars from the various rounds of government stimulus are bound to show up in the economy, and they have shown up in real estate in a big way. Cash in the real estate system has heightened an already robust real estate market and serves as a complement to the strong fundamentals driving today’s housing demand. The influx of cash will take some time to work through and will continue to bolster the real estate market for some time.
The impact of the pandemic on the American psyche is likely to be with us for a while. An increased focus on home and residential real estate as a sanctuary, retreat and investment has been one of the major outcomes of the pandemic.
Though a resurgence of the pandemic seems unlikely, many folks may hedge and plan ahead for a possible reemergence of this virus or the possibility of another health crisis. The result: a willingness to invest in real property.
For practicality, for function and also for peace of mind, people will continue to look to residential real estate for solid footing during these times.
For these reasons and more, real estate — especially in West Michigan — continues to be a bright spot on the path out of the pandemic.