Texas real estate not seeing huge impacts due to new COVID-19 restrictions

VIDEO: COVID-19 impact on home sales in Texas, Amarillo

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Texas home sales are still on the rise despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

With many people losing their job or being furloughed due to the virus, home sales in Amarillo and across Texas are still doing well.

“You might think that the real estate market took a really bad turn south at that point in time, but honestly, even through the month of April, we’re seeing a reasonable amount of activity,” said Cindi Bulla, 2020 chairman of the Texas Realtors Board. “It’s not out-pacing last year, it’s not keeping up quite with last year, but it’s closer than you might think.”

Bulla says home sales are about 80 percent on track with last year, but they are seeing a significant increase in home prices.

“In the first quarter statistics, we’re seeing average home prices up about 5.1 percent. That’s dramatic,” said Bulla. “In a normal year, it wouldn’t be three percent in the entire year, so that’s a dramatic uptick in home prices. In fact, throughout most of the first quarter, Texas Realtors’ biggest concern was a lack of availability of housing in a price range our typical workforce could afford.”

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bulla says they were prepared to move to an online setting for the convenience of their clients.

“We had been already developing tools, so that we could do virtual open houses, virtual showings, virtual closings. A lot of online tools were already in development for the sake of convenience for our clients,” said Bulla.

A true impact on the market would not be able to be seen until a couple months from now.

“Closings statewide will be down for the month of April but not down dramatically,” said Bulla. “Obviously, we don’t have those numbers yet, but we are not expecting much, because the work we did in March will be closing in April. We have about a month lag time to really see what the market impact is. It will likely be mid to late May before we have a good bead on where the market is going to be from here.”

Bulla says the post COVID-19 market numbers may be predicted closer to May or June.

“We are encouraged by the fact that there are still showings going on," said Bulla. "There are still contracts pending, new contracts pending, that are tracking not that much behind, about 80 percent of what they were at the same time last year, so these new contacts pending are very encouraging for going forward.”

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