Uncertainty during COVID-19 pandemic impacts Triangle real estate market

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C.  (WNCN) — One of the professions labeled essential under the state’s stay-at-home order is real estate agents. They’re helping people that need to move or sell property during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael Terbet, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker HPW and the Ida Terbet Group, said the real estate market in Wake County is picking back up after COVID-19 slowed it down.

From the first half to second half of April, he said showings and new homes going on the market went up about a quarter.

“Which was very encouraging,” said Terbet.

He’s seeing activity with listings that are less than $400,000, and more than $700,000.

It’s been slower for homes between those price points. Terbet said that’s because those tend to be buyers who need to sell to buy — and times are still uncertain.

“Right now a lot of people are just sitting back and wanting to see what happens without having knee-jerk reactions on price,” said Terbet.

Many people also don’t want to be in other homes for showings or have people in theirs right now due to COVID-19.

Realtors aren’t overlapping appointments to promote social distancing.

“I do have my glove, I do have my sanitizer and I do have a mask,” said Terbet.

In Durham County, the local stay-at-home order puts stricter rules in place. Currently, only vacant homes can be shown at a limit of three times a day.

“I mean very strict and rigid,” said Wallace Peiffer, president of the Durham Association of Realtors. “Basically nothing is happening. Very, very little is selling. The homes that are under contract we are able to close those, but it’s been hard.”

The Durham Association of Realtors is asking the local governments to adopt the surrounding counties’ and state’s guidelines.

“It’s been very difficult because Durham is so, they’ve put handcuffs on property owners and that’s really our true fight,” said Peiffer. “You can go to a Family Dollar, but you can’t go buy or sell a home that you justly need to buy. When you have a doctor moving into Durham and can’t buy a home, does that mean he moves now to Cary and Apex?”

Durham real estate agents can show homes virtually, but Peiffer said that often doesn’t show issues, like nearby power lines or an uneven lot.

“Houses talk to people and you can see you and your family living there instantly,” said Peiffer.
The Durham real estate market was also impacted by the recent malware attack in March. It closed the Register of Deeds office.

The Durham Association of Realtors said the market went down 20 percent in March.

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