The COVID-19 Outbreak Has Caused Zillow to Pause Its Home Buying Program: Find Out How This Can Have An Impact On Your Home-Buying Process

Online real estate service Zillow has a home buying program in 24 states. It stopped the program March 23, 2020 due to COVID-19. As the pandemic has continued, home buying and selling has been changed in every state, including ones with no “stay at home” or “shelter in place” orders

In California, after initial disruption due to COVID-19, by the last week of March, real estate was added to the state’s “essential business operations.” This meant that home sales can continue, but precautions are advisable. A survey conducted by the California Association of Realtors in mid-March found that 54% of its members saw a decline in buyer interest. Some sellers have also backed out of their sales due to COVID-19, but the overwhelming majority were staying in the market.

California real estate pros are working virtually

The California Association of Realtors requested that all of its members should cease open houses shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that all Californians should stay at home starting March 19, 2020.

Before COVID-19, 75% of California’s realtors weren’t offering virtual tours or sales, but now they’re essential. Virtual closings are possible too, and are being used to continue the buying and selling process.

What does this mean for your home buying or selling?

Count on working with real estate professionals using technology. From virtual home tours to conducting the sales and negotiation process online, you can complete a real estate transaction without personal contact. Using virtual signing methods can eliminate the risk of virus contamination.

Interest rates are low and helping buyers and sellers

After the Federal Reserve lowered its interest rate to zero, interest rates increased for about a week. Real estate professionals found that trend hard to explain, but interest rates have adjusted and as of April 1, 2020, were lower than ever for all mortgage products, from 30-year fixed-rate loans to 15-year fixed rate home mortgages and 5/1 ARMs. Refinancing mortgage interest rates are also low, and experts predict that there will be many opportunities to refinance in the coming months.

California’s economic experts predict that with the $2 trillion Federal stimulus bill, the real estate market will not suffer much due to the COVID-19 crisis. The state’s economy is expected to recover quickly once the stimulus takes effect and people are back to work when the crisis is over.


With California’s Ever-Evolving Luxury Home Market: Is Now the Best Time to Look for Homes Up to $10 million?

According to Statista, single-family luxury homes in Los Angeles spent an average of 103 days on the market in the later months of 2019. Some industry insiders have predicted that 2020 will be a good time to buy a luxury home in Southern California, especially in the $2 million to $10 million range.

But the COVID-19 outbreak has influenced every segment of the homebuying market, including luxury homes. You can find homes with significant price cuts in many areas in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, including properties with prices cut up to 10% or more since mid-March 2020.

Some mortgage rates, like 30-year fixed-rate VA loans and 15-year fixed-rate VA loans, have decreased slightly following the Federal Reserve Bank’s lowering of its interest rate to zero on March 15, 2020. However, other mortgage rates, including conventional 30-year home loans and 15-year fixed-rate conventional mortgages, have increased even with the basic Fed rate being literally at zero. Even FHA mortgage interest rates have increased slightly, with approximately rate increases of .1 to .33% observed after the Fed slashed its rates on March 15.

So if you’ve been looking for a luxury home to buy, now may be a good time, especially in the $2 million to $10 million range if you’ve sold your home elsewhere. If you need a mortgage to buy your property, you will definitely want to work with an experienced home mortgage and a real estate professional to find the right home to buy. You do have a lot of choices right now and can look for the home you want in the right neighborhood, with the best mortgage deal. Virus fears shouldn’t affect your home search and mortgage process: every mortgage and real estate professional is working to conduct business virtually, including virtual home tours and signings.


Will the Corona Virus COVID-19 Crisis Affect Your Home Buying Plans? Learn How Virtual Selling and Open Houses Can Keep You Safe Today And Days Ahead

In response to the COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic, California governor Gavin Newsom announced that as of March 19, 2020, all Californians should stay at home except for essential activities like shopping for food and going to the pharmacy. Open houses don’t fit the criteria of “essential activities,” so how is the real estate industry handling the COVID-19 crisis?

Virtual open houses

Realtors have offered 360-degree virtual tours of homes for a long time, and now these services are more important than ever. You can continue looking for homes online and see everything without any need to leave your home. You can stay in touch with your realtor using online services as well.

Some realtors are introducing video walk-throughs, which will help you to see homes in more detail than a virtual tour. Already popular, virtual tours and video walk-throughs are safe ways to continue your home search during the coronavirus emergency.

Real estate does not have to come to a halt

Across the U.S., developers are worried that the coronavirus pandemic will halt their projects. Only VA home mortgages saw a slight decline in interest rates when the Federal Reserve lowered the prime interest rate to zero in mid-March. Conventional and FHA home loans saw a slight increase in interest rates in 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, 15-year fixed rate home loans, and adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs).

Deals are still going through, but new listings are slowing or coming to a halt. People still need to move for work or personal needs, but the majority of real estate experts are predicting that the usual spring housing market won’t be happening this year.

If you’re a home seller, you aren’t risking anything by leaving your home on the market while changing to virtual tours and walk-throughs.

Closing deals is one of the main hurdles to continuing real estate transactions. With today’s technology, some closings can occur virtually/online, not requiring parties to the transaction to be in the same room. In California, virtual remote online notarization is still being considered by the state legislature, but COVID-19 makes this law much more of a priority.

You can still look for homes, apply for mortgage pre-approval, and consider listing your home for sale during the COVID-19 pandemic. This unprecedented crisis hasn’t stopped the real estate market, but it is likely to cause lasting changes.