Real Estate During the COVID Pandemic

Despite the challenges of stay at home orders & social distancing, there are many
reasons for optimism in the housing market.

For nearly two months, most of us have been following social distancing and stay-at-home orders. It’s a new way of life that has put our daily lives on pause. On the other hand, many have found a sense of comfort by slowing down and spending time at home, highlighting the feeling of security that comes with having a safe place for our families to live.

AMERICANS PLACE IMMENSE VALUE IN HOMEOWNERSHIP, a statistic that continues to grow.

Despite COVID-19, Utah home sales increase
nearly 2% in March, showing promising signs
in the housing market.

– Deseret News


The number of homes sold in Utah increased nearly 2% in March despite the COVID-19 outbreak. At the same time, the median sales price increased 10.5% over March 2019. While the data does not show the full effect of pandemic shutdowns, the statistics do reflect some of the impacts. New listings and pending sales fell 16%. What does that mean for the coming months?

The housing market is temporarily grappling with the COVID-induced shutdown, however, as consumers become more accustomed to social distancing protocols, and the economy safely & slowly reopening, listing and buying activity will resume, especially given the record low mortgage rates.

It is anticipated that Utah home values will continue to rise, given the extreme lack of housing inventory vs. buyer demand. In fact, National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts Utah could see values increase another 10% by next year.


Buying a home during a pandemic may not be easy… but it’s still the smart thing to do. Through all the volatility in the economy right now, some have thought it best to put their search for a home on hold. But, according to Showing Time, the industry’s leading showing management tech provider, buyers are reappearing over the last several weeks. Here are 3 reasons for the increase in activity…

Some people need to move, whether due to divorce, financial hardship, job transfer or other reason, and need to quickly.

Realtors® have become innovative, utilizing technology that allows purchasers to virutally view homes, meet with mortgage professionals and consult during the process. All of this can happen within the required safety protocols.

Mortgage rates are near all-time lows, and buyers understand that these rates are key when determining their monthly housing expenses.

buyer confidence up

Mortgage applications for new home purchases saw a 12% increase last week, reversing a month of plummeting activity due to COVID-19. Housing experts say it could mark a sign that home buyers are returning to the market.

One incentive for buyers to get moving:

Mortgage rates remain near historical lows. The average contract interest rate for the 30-year fixed mortgage dropped from and average of 3.94% at the start of 2019 down to 3.33%. That’s a near $100 per month savings on a $250,000 mortgage!

Buyers are rushing to take advantage of low rates because it gives them one of two things: 1. either a lower monthly payment or  2. an increaseto their buying power. While it may not seem like a lot, a lower interest rate even by half a percent can add up to significant savings for a homeowner over the life of the loan.


With businesses starting to slowly open back up again, it’s important to understand how housing can have a major impact on the recovery of the U.S. – and Utah – economies. Buying a home is a driving financial force in this process.

Many analysts believe one of the first things we’ll be able to safely bring back is housing, creating more jobs and impacting local neighborhoods in a big way.

EXISTING HOME. When you purchase an existing home, you’re generating jobs and income for the appraiser, loan officer, title company, Realtor® and other major contributors to the transaction. For every person or business that you work with throughout the transaction, there’s likely a team behind the scenes making it happen, so the effort multiplies substantially. The average economic impact of ONE home sale in the U.S. is $41,124. With a new construction home, the impact is almost DOUBLE, as that amount increases to $84,724. In fact…

NEW CONTRUCTION. Building 1,000 average single-family homes creates 2,900 full-time jobs and generates $110.96 million in taxes and fees for all levels of government to support police, firefighters and schools.

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. Job creation through housing is broad-based. Building new homes, purchasing new or remodeling existing homes generates jobs in industries that produce lumber, concrete, light fixtures, heating equipment and other products that go into a home. Other jobs are generated in the process of transporting, storing and selling these products, and even more are generated for professionals such as architects, engineers, Realtors® and others who provide services to home builders, home buyers and remodelers.

The Bottom Line

Buying a home is a substantial economic driver today, and as housing picks up in the coming months, it will be an even stronger recovery force throughout Utah and the country. If you’re in a position to buy a home this year, you can have a significant impact on your local neighborhoods and safely make the move you’ve been waiting for. It’s a win-win!

As we continue to work through the health crisis that plagues this country, more and more conversations are turning to economic recovery. While we look for signs that we’ve reached a plateau in cases of COVID-19, the concern and fear of what will happen as businesses open up again is on all of our minds. This causes confusion about what an economic recovery will look like. With this in mind, it’s important to understand how economists are using three types of sciences to formulate their forecasts and to work toward clearer answers.
  • Business Science – How has the economy rebounded from similar slowdowns in the past?
  • Health Science – When will COVID-19 be under control? Will there be another flareup of the virus this fall?
  • People Science – After businesses are fully operational, how long will it take American consumers to return to normal consumption patterns? (Ex: going to the movies, attending a sporting event, or flying).

“Although the uncertainty of the crisis means forecasts of economic activity are more unclear than usual, we expect that most of the economic damage from the virus will be contained to
the first half of the year. Going forward, we
should see a recovery starting in the
second half of 2020.”

– Sam Khater, Freddie Mac Chief Economist

Experts agree that the second quarter of 2020 will be an even greater slowdown, a sign more businesses are feeling the effects of this health crisis. The same experts, however, project businesses will rebound, and a recovery will start to happen in the second half of this year. As time goes on, we’ll have more clarity around what the true economic recovery will look like, and we’ll have more information on the sciences that will affect it. As the nation’s economy comes back to life and businesses embrace new waves of innovation to serve their customers, the American spirit of grit, growth, and prosperity will be alive and well.


The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the real estate industry, both nationally and here in our beautiful Cache Valley community. Everything, from brokerage operations to how listings are being marketed and the ability to close transactions, is requiring REALTORS® to adapt to these extraordinary circumstances. REALTORS® continue to receive helpful tips and resources from the CDC and National Association of REALTORS® to keep themselves and their clients safe during a real estate transaction.

Now more than ever, working with a REALTOR® can save you time, money and trouble. Nearly eight out of 10 consumers believe REALTORS® can show buyers a better selection of homes than they can find on their own, according to an independent survey of the general public released by the National Association of REALTORS®.

78% of the general public believe real estate professionals offer them a broader selection of housing alternatives than they would otherwise find. 74% agree that using a real estate broker saves time, and 70% agree that real estate professionals make buying or selling a home much easier.

Not all licensed real estate agents and brokers are REALTORS®. Those who are have the additional resources and support provided by their association, including a strict Code of Ethics to help assure fair and professional treatment for all.