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Despite the economy being shut down for the majority of 2020, housing along the coast of South Orange County has done exceptionally well in the first half of 2020. With half the year now in the books, this report compares year-to-date sales of single-family homes in 2020 to the same period in 2019 for the cities of Laguna Beach, Dana Point and San Clemente, in aggregate.

When the pandemic hit in March, the ability to show homes came to complete standstill. Within a few weeks, housing was determined to be an essential business, but stringent guidelines were put in place to allow showings on a very limited basis: Absolutely no open houses; Showings were by appointment only; Potential buyers had to pre-qualify before scheduling a showing; All parties entering the property had to sign the “Property Entry Advisory Disclosure” stating the they were healthy, had not been around anyone who was ill, released liability to the homeowner if they became ill, etc.; No more than two persons at a time were allowed in the property, including their agent; The homeowner or listing agent had to ensure that all surfaces in the property had been disinfected; All parties were required to wear masks and protective gloves, and so on.

What was fascinating is that buyers complied. Apparently, there was enough demand by serious buyers to step up to all these new requirements. They readily agreed to these restrictions in order to view properties of interest. With inventory down by more than 40%, that meant that active listings were seeing an increase in showing activity. From the sellers’ perspective, the buyers who were coming through were much more qualified and more motivated than in a typical market where many viewers are just lookie-loos. The results in the chart below clearly demonstrate that this was true.

Understandably, volume was down, but only by 17.4%, while prices actually increased by 2.0%. Even with the shutdown, uncertainty in the market and increased requirements for showings, average days on market surprisingly dropped by one day.

What does all this mean? First, there is still an appetite for homes in one of the world’s most desirable places to live. Second, with incredibly attractive interest rates, buyers are wanting to lock in on the unique opportunity to have a fixed 30-year rate at potentially under 3.0%. Third, if you have been considering the sale of your property but have resisted because of the upheaval caused by COVID-19, you can be confident that this may be a great time to jump into the market.

For well-informed, intelligent, and detailed advice on real estate matters, contact me for a free, no-pressure consultation. Dave Csira; [email protected]; 949.500.3283.


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