MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Mecklenburg County's housing market was strong prior to the coronavirus outbreak, but activity in the next coming months is expected to come to a standstill.
Like so many other businesses, the housing market is taking a huge hit because of the coronavirus pandemic. Mecklenburg County officials released a new housing report and it makes note of COVID-19.
Turn any corner in Charlotte and you're bound to see a crane or for sale sign.
New numbers show home sales went up in March but with the stay at home order in place until at least the end of April, the county predicts that growth will come to a screeching halt.
In March, Mecklenburg County's year-over-year home sales increased by 7.7% with 1,790 properties sold — compared to 1,790 the year before.
However, the response to COVID-19, including the stay at home order issued on March 26th is expected to negatively impact the housing market.
“We're definitely a leader in the housing market," says Christy Lewis with Hurd Realty Group. "Charlotte is a very transitional area. We've got a lot to offer families. Businesses are moving to the area, so we see people moving here from all over the country."
The report says they are anticipating a large reduction for home sales in April for several reasons. Many people are reluctant to buy or sell homes virtually and the financial future is too uncertain.
This time of year, home sales usually skyrocket.
“You run nonstop, morning to night, all day long, every day,” Lewis says of the springtime.
But that’s already changed. Home sales pretty much coming to a standstill.
Construction and realtors are considered essential in North Carolina, but most showings have gone virtual and guidelines change every day.
“Each county is different, and it changes daily," Lewis said. "We are now allowed to show homes in the Mecklenburg area that are vacant, and we can still show things in Union County. Right now, it’s really just working with everyone’s comfort level."
Financially, many people are hesitant to make a big purchase with the economic future so uncertain. But Lewis has a positive outlook for the long term.
“We’re going to see a huge jump again," she said. "Rates are down for mortgages. You couldn't ask for a better time to buy as far as that goes. I think we're in a good position, people have to move."
She adds what people want in a house is also changing drastically, a lot of her clients now asking for more outdoor space and home offices, spending so much at home shifting a lot of people's priorities.
Once the stay at home order is lifted it will take time to recover from all the financial losses, and experts saying the housing market will continue to low down even more in the following months after April.