How is the Covid-19 Coronavirus affecting the Bozeman Real Estate Market?
The coronavirus is affecting the lives of Americans and Bozemanites like nothing else has in my lifetime. My family and I are trying to navigate our new daily routines as my wife and I now try to both work from home while simultaneously trying to home school our 3 and 6 year olds. My wife, Sarah, has been incredible through this entire ordeal and I’m so thankful for her in my life. Those who are still working and have children at home know that time is now a precious commodity.
As the stay at home order and social distancing measures affect massive changes in everyone’s lives, my family and I do our best to look around and try to be thankful for all that is still good. We have all remained healthy, we have food, and we have shelter. For those, we are thankful.
Over the past weeks, I have fielded a lot of calls from friends and clients wondering what is happening in Real Estate during the times of the coronavirus and Covid-19. Are homes still selling? Are there any buyers out looking? Lets dive into that.
The short answer is Yes. Homes are still selling, buyers are still out looking. However, there have been changes in the way we do business and the activity we’ve seen.
I’ve been doing my best to try to watch the numbers. We don’t really have a long enough period of time to see great data yet, but I’ve been monitoring it daily. Governor Bullock ordered the closure of schools due to the coronavirus on March 15th, a Sunday. What I’ve mainly been looking at is the number of homes that have gone pending this year, starting on the Monday of Spring Break, March 16th, and then comparing that to the same time period last year. Since its such a short period of time, one big day for sales can really swing the number, so its definitely not a perfect indicator, but at least it gives us a sense.
For the time period of Monday, March 16th, 2020 through Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, in all of Gallatin County and including all types of residential sales (single family homes, condos, & townhomes), 110 new contracts went pending this year. Looking at the similar time period for last year, Monday March 18th, 2019 through Tuesday, April 9th, 2019; 144 homes went pending. This indicates we’re at about 76% of the market activity during the pandemic versus last year, or a 24% reduction in new contracts.
Restricting the data to just Bozeman area properties, we see a similar percentage. 108 homes went pending last year from the Monday of spring break through the following 3 weeks. This year, 69 homes went pending, or 64%.
All of Gallatin County
There’s two ways to look at that data. I could see some read it and think; “24% drop in new contracts! That’s terrible.” However, if one looks around town at all of the businesses that are shuttered and the level of market activity elsewhere due to covid-19 stay at home orders, (you can park wherever you want in downtown Bozeman!) this actually looks like pretty strong activity to me. All things considered, I wouldn’t have been surprised if we were only seeing 10% or 25% of the “normal” market activity without coronavirus.
The upper end of the market is showing plenty of strength as well. There are currently 49 homes in Gallatin County that are pending with an asking price north of $750k.
I should state that because this is such a short period of time, the percentages swing quite a bit from day to day. If 6 houses sell in one day this year, and only 2 sold last year, it swings that percentage quite a bit. However, almost every day I’ve looked, we’ve been between roughly 2/3 and 3/4 of the number of new contracts this year versus last year.
What about showing protocols? We’re definitely changing the way we’re doing business during this pandemic. Here are some of the steps we’ve taken, especially in homes that are occupied. First and foremost, if buyers have had any signs of illness, whether or not those signs align with coronavirus symptoms, we’re asking them to stay home.
Even for those feeling well, we’re often trying to start with a face time tour or video walk through. We’ve recently harnessed some really cool technology to virtually tour homes, check this out: