The COVID-19 pandemic has essentially delayed the start of a bustling spring housing market. Home sellers ready to sell their homes were faced with additional challenges when the Shelter in Place orders took effect. Those restrictions prohibited sellers from showing the home unless it was vacant, posing a problem for most sellers still living in their homes. Between the restrictions put into place and the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the housing market came to a grinding halt with buyers pulling out of transactions and sellers pulling their home off the market.
Sonoma County saw a 33% decline in the number of homes sold during the month of April, the largest decline in more than a decade during the month of April, which typically enjoys a rebound from the slower winter months.
Recently, Sonoma County officials lifted the restrictions on showing occupied homes, which has led to a gradual increase in the request for showings. Some restrictions are still in place, including by appointment only showings, protective gear and social distancing, as well as a maximum of 3 visitors per showing (the agent and two visitors from the same household).
There are signs of improvement and activity, however, with more pending sales and new listings on MLS. In addition, home prices are holding and demand is still strong.
Local real estate agents believe the housing market will continue to improve as restrictions continue to loosen and more people feel confident about selling and buying.