Low inventory, increased prices and desperate buyers — that’s what Cory Knopf, owner of Hal Knopf Realty in Oceanside, and other realtors have been seeing this summer.
With interest rates dipping below 3 percent in some cases, homebuyers have been eager to close deals on houses recently. “How quickly something sells is unparalleled,” Knopf said. “I’ve never seen such a demand for homes in my 26 years in real estate.”
This often results in multiple offers on a single property and bidding wars, she added.
“Whether it’s a $300,000 or a million-dollar home, if it’s priced properly, there will be multiple offers,” she said.
Aside from borrowing power for mortgages, this buying frenzy is being driven by a couple of other factors too, Knopf said. First, while there are more buyers, there is a decrease in inventory — less homes on the market. Due to coronavirus, people may be waiting until they feel more comfortable to show their home to buyers.
Eventually, Knopf noted, inventory will increase again and help prices to stabilize — and bidding wars to slow down.
Second, there is a flux of city residents looking to move to Long Island. Many are working from home and want more home office space. People no longer value their proximity to stores or their workplace, so they are able to move to the suburbs, Knopf noted. “People are trying to get out of the city and are so desperate to get out of their apartments because of Covid,” she said.
Mike Scully, of Century 21 Scully Realty in Island Park, noted that this is all good for the real estate market — despite making his job more hectic than usual. Business became extremely slow when the Covid-19 crisis hit in March, and especially in April, during statewide stay-at-home orders.
Now, Scully said, the real estate industry is quickly bouncing back as homebuyers flood the market all at once after several months of waiting. “In June, things really took off,” he said. “It’s busier now because everyone was able to resume life in one shot.”
Home features that buyers are looking for have also “changed drastically,” Knopf said.
Knopf has noticed that her clients want pools, large backyards, home offices — generally more space for living. They also want fully renovated homes so that they do not have to go through any construction or renovations during this time.
“Our city buyers want to pay top dollar for fully renovated rather than getting it renovated themselves,” she said, “because it’s so cheap to borrow money.”
Another way the real estate industry is changing — like with most aspects of life nowadays — is through its procedures for showing houses. Realtors offer virtual tours of houses before having clients see it in person. Clients must be pre-qualified before touring the house in person, Knopf said, and the tours have time and guest limits. Open houses are by appointment only.
Also, Scully added, all parties must wear gloves and masks inside the homes.
“Everyone has been pretty safety conscious,” Scully said, “and cooperating a good deal.”