Rockville Centre real estate agents are seeing an influx of buyers and drop in listings this summer, as they feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on their industry.
With interest rates dipping below 3 percent in some cases, homebuyers have been eager to close deals on houses recently, which is “fueling the real estate market in a positive way,” said Carol O’Leary, associate broker and agent at Coach Realtors.
“People have more time right now to focus on real estate and look for properties because there is not much else to do,” she added, “and that’s to our advantage.”
O’Leary noted, however, that inventory is low, making it more difficult to give homebuyers options. Due to a shift in lifestyle brought on by the pandemic, buyers are looking for properties with home office space and swimming pools.
“Things slowed down for three months,” O’Leary explained, “then when things started opening up again, people had been in their apartments for a long period of time, and realized they wanted a change.”
Donna Einemann, associate real estate broker at Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, said the low inventory and high demand has led to bidding wars on houses — and, consequently, higher sale prices.
“Our buyer pool was extremely healthy at the beginning of 2020,” Einemann said, “but it drastically increased — and changed — due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Einemann noted that Daniel Gale Sotheby’s Rockville Centre office was up 79 percent from last year in pending contracts for June 1 through July 31. In those two months in 2019, 32 percent of the realtor’s pending contracts were buyer sales, whereas in June and July 2020, 50 percent of its pending contracts were buyer sales.
All the while, Einemann and O’Leary both agree that agents’ jobs have shifted in many ways during this time. Many are working from home rather than in an office, and they have taken on a responsibility to make sure buyers and sellers feel comfortable throughout the process. This means ensuring that proper safety measures are being taken when showing houses.
“Our focus is the end goal of either selling or buying,” O’Leary said. “We want to achieve that while keeping everyone safe and comfortable with the whole process. It adds that other layer onto our roles.”
“The pandemic was a real challenge,” Einemann added. “I truly believe that we rose above the challenges and created some new best practices that we’ll continue to use going forward.”
Nancy Achstatter, broker and owner of Home and Hearth of Rockville Centre, echoed their sentiments, but noted that many people are still uncomfortable putting their houses on the market, which could account for the low inventory.
She also noted that she sees many buyers moving from Manhattan into the suburbs of Long Island. Many buyers are looking for completely renovated houses, as they don’t want construction done on their homes during this time for a number of reasons — concern of virus spread, working from home and kids learning from home, to name a few.
And, due to the increased demand and low inventory, houses stay on the market for shorter periods of time than ever, she said.
“It’s good news for the real estate market because we are rebounding after Covid,” she said, “and we’ve figured out a way to do it safely.”