Special Update: COVID-19 and the Santa Barbara Real Estate Market

kk-mailchimp-v2Buy, Sell or Wait? What’s Changing and What Isn’t? Coronavirus and the Santa Barbara Real Estate Market

Although we have weathered dramatic changes in the real estate market in the past, the unprecedented global health threat posed by coronavirus is unlike any other potential market disruption we’ve experienced before.

In this time of uncertainty, my clients and referral partners are asking a lot of questions. I want to try to address them the best I can, keeping in mind that the landscape is constantly changing.

First, know that Kelly Knight Real Estate’s top priority is the safety of our clients and
my dedicated support team. We are working diligently to stay informed and are following the latest CDC recommendations, as well as the guidelines being established by our local Association of Realtors (SBAOR) and the state and national associations (CAR and NAR). At the same time, we are working hard to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the Santa Barbara real estate market. But unlike the financial markets, real estate data emerges over time.

Here’s what we do know:

  • Buyers and sellers will continue to conduct business, although overall transaction volume will drop temporarily.
  • Escrow companies are still open and are recording deeds remotely via e-recordings.
  • Lenders are working remotely and modifying their processes. Given the high number of refinances in process due to recent rate drops, timelines might be extended. Appraisal timelines may lag as well.
  • Housing supply remains tight and demand is high.
  • Mortgage interest rates are at near historic lows and may go even lower.
  • Today’s conditions are far different from those that led to the 2008 recession. Runaway lending precipitated the drop in housing prices then. It was a structural problem in real estate finance that has since been fixed.

Here’s how the local real estate community is responding:

  • Village Properties closed its offices following Gov. Newsom’s Stay at Home order issued last week.
  • SBAOR disabled the “Broker Tour” and “Open House” functions in FLEXMLS (our local multiple listing service) last week. All open houses are cancelled until the order is lifted.
  • We are following the recommendations of CAR and SBAOR, that all property showings and inspections must be conducted virtually to protect the safety of everyone involved.
  • We are constantly analyzing market data and watching for significant shifts.
  • We are planning to send regular updates to keep you informed as conditions change.