Eye on KELOLAND: Home sales during a pandemic


It’s hard to think of an industry that hasn’t been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that includes real estate.

According to an recent report from the Realtor Association of the Sioux Empire, it’s expected that social distancing, unemployment, and lower economic activity will continue to impact the industry in the near term.

Preston Evans has a special connection to Hartford.

“My dad was the D.A.R.E. officer in Hartford for West Central for quite a while when I was growing up so I grew up going to West Central games,” Preston Evans of Sioux Falls said.

Now the Sioux Falls man and his family will establish roots in the town.

They’re in the process of buying a house there.

“It had everything that I wanted, and it had everything that Ashlynn wanted in the house, so it was like best of both worlds. I don’t know how often that happens or not,” Evans said.

Despite uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, Realtor Sean Larsen with eXp Realty says there is still plenty of interest in buying homes in the Sioux Falls area.

But he says inventory is low.

“We have tons of buyers because the interest rates are so low, and not enough homes for people to purchase,” Realtor Sean Larsen said.

According to the Realtor Association of the Sioux Empire, the number of homes available in April of this year was down more than 20 percent compared to April of 2019.

“I think it’s been bad the last couple of years; it’s just gotten extremely worse the last two months,” Larsen said.

Some hesitation could be linked to the pandemic.

“I think that the uncertainty and the fear of people wanting to put their homes on the market, either not finding the house they want to move into, or being jobs cancelled, promotions pushed back, things like that that may have an effect on it as well,” Larsen said.

Larsen says the market is still strong though, and people working in the real estate industry are adapting to the current situation.

“There’s no old normal. There’s no we’re going to get back to that normal. It’s just a new thing every day, so you have to adapt or die,” Larsen said.

If you are looking to buy during these uncertain times, Evans has some advice.

“I think cash reserves and just knowing where your finances are and budgeting and doing some of those things, that provides certainty and clarity of what I can do. When the world starts getting shaky and rocky I know, ‘Hey, I can survive for this long,'” Evans said.

In fact, it’s through their own careful planning that Evans and his wife have found their new home in Hartford.

“Feels really nice and comforting that we’ve done it right and we’ve been patient and that we got what we wanted and we’re able to move in,” Evans said.

The Realtor Association of the Sioux Empire says the industry is adapting by using virtual showings and e-signings to help customers.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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