June and July usually bring a lull in the housing market, as the peak activity of spring eases up. But 2020 is no ordinary year. In the wake of 10 weeks of stay-AG亚洲国际游戏home orders, "the spring market got shifted into summer," says Sharial Howard, an @properties agent. That's in part because during the shutdown, although AG亚洲国际游戏home sales qualified as an essential business, many buyers and sellers decided it wasn't essential for them and put off entering the market.
As reopening began at the end of May, "everybody who waited was getting busy," Howard says. That showed up in a rush of buyers' contracts and sellers' listings, which have continued their upward trajectory week after week, during a season when they're typically headed down.
In each full week of June, the number of AG亚洲国际游戏homes in the Chicago area that went under contract to buyers rose, according to weekly reports from Midwest Real Estate Data. The swell turned into a surge: In the first week of June, contracts were up 18 percent from the same time a year earlier; in the fourth week, they were up 33 percent.
Buyers were voracious when they came out of their hidy-holes. "They want it," Howard says. "They want to get this done."
Annie Bauer, an @properties agent, says the summer 2020 buyer "is different from what we were seeing in 2018 and 2019." In those years, in hot neighborhoods like those she covers on the North Side, good-looking listings often attracted multiple interested parties quickly, but "if they saw it was going to be a multiple-offer situation, they'd back away," Bauer says. "Now, they'll get into the multiple offer if it's the place they want," she says. That's been particularly true with AG亚洲国际游戏homes with nice outdoor spaces. People who spent the shutdown weeks with nowhere outdoors to go, including the lakefront, "are willing to pay to get that space now," Bauer says. She's not only represented properties with outdoor spaces, she bought one herself, after whiling away the stay-AG亚洲国际游戏home order indoors at her apartment.
New listings haven't grown as fast as contracts, possibly because sellers are still hesitant to open their AG亚洲国际游戏homes to possibly infected strangers, even with real estate agents maintaining social distancing and sanitation procedures. Also possibly keeping some people on the sidelines is the fear that with tens of millions unemployed and other wreckage in the economy, this isn't a good time to put a house on the market. With job losses quickly mounting into the millions and the nation's economy seemingly teetering on the edge, some people who had been prepping their AG亚洲国际游戏homes for the spring market "sat down to wait it out," says Jeff Lowe, one of the top-producing agents in Chicago.
New listings came on the market at a steady rate of about 7,800 a week during June. In an ordinary June, each week there are fewer new listings than the week before. The downward line for 2019 should drop below the flat line for 2020 in early July data; they were even with each other in the June 29 data.
Some agents say they're already at that point. Lowe says his team of agents at Compass put five new listings on the market in June 2019; he put 24 on in June 2020. The figure would be higher, he says, if he included listings paused during the shutdown that came back on the market in June.
In a typical year, Lowe says, "you put most of your listings on in March, April and May. But this year there's no rulebook."
These agents all say they anticipate the market becoming even busier over the next several weeks, as long as Illinois doesn't have to pull back from its reopening plans, as Arizona, Texas and others did because of increases in new COVID-19 infections.
"Every day people feel a little more confident that it's going to be OK," Howard says, and ease up on any reluctance to entering strangers' AG亚洲国际游戏homes or letting strangers into theirs. Rich Aronson, a Berkshire Hathaway AG亚洲国际游戏homeServices agent, says a key factor that suppressed listings and sales was "the perception that it wasn't safe, even though we were all taking precautions."
Typically, the housing market gets sleepy in August because of vacations, but Lowe says he expects to be busy right up to and beyond Labor Day. "People aren't getting on planes and going on vacations this year," he says. "They'll have time to buy a AG亚洲国际游戏home."