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COVID-19 Impacts on Central Oregon's Real Estate Market

Are homes selling, and at what price?

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As we are all acutely aware, the United States and global economies as a whole have been dealt a significant blow by an invisible, undiscriminating “enemy” to the human race. News cycles, government briefings, social media outlets and community conversations all invariably involve the current and projected economic situations of the market sectors and industries that make up the U.S. economy as a whole. The real estate industry and market health have been a sector carefully watched by economists, investors and community members, as the health of the real estate market is a large indicator of the overall long-term health of the U.S. economy.

What is happening Central Oregon, since the onset of COVID19? Gov. Brown deemed the real estate industry as essential during the stay at home order. Because of this, the local real estate market is and has been carrying on, business as usual in terms of numbers.

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The median home price for Bend in April rose slightly from March to $468,000 and 166 sales closing for the month of April. Building permits remain nearly the same as one year ago, at 45 new building permits pulled with the City of Bend for the month of April.

The Redmond median home price also ticked up at $358,000 for the month of April, with 68 total closed sales. In addition, Redmond has seen a significant uptick in building permits issued in comparison to April 2019, at 46 permits.

The scarcity of inventory has long been an issue for Central Oregon. According to the Beacon Report, issued monthly by the Beacon Appraisal Group, Central Oregon holds less than a three-month supply of housing inventory, and Bend specifically with a two-month supply.




With the stay-at-home order issued in late March, we are just now beginning to see the data on COVID-19’s impact on the local real estate market. Looking at April 2019 data and April 2020 data for Central Oregon, new listings are down 39% from this time last year. Active listings (currently on the market) are down by 14% from 2019, and pending sales are down 34% from this time last year. The number of closed sales is down 5% from April of 2019; however, this percentage may trend lower and tend to follow the numbers above as we move further into Q2. The reason for this is that the vast majority of sales that were closed in April were under contract to purchase before the stay-at-home order was issued for the State of Oregon.

Another notable data point is the 4% increase in median sales price. This is in direct correlation to the long-term shortage of inventory that Central Oregon has been experiencing for years. With a continued shortage of inventory, the pricing increases are not surprising. This is true in any market, where there is scarcity of a product the prices are driven up—not unlike what we've experienced in the last two months with the pricing of hand sanitizers, disinfectants and other types of PPE.

Central Oregon is also beginning to collect data on showings since the onset of COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order. Central Oregon Association of Realtors is reporting that in-person showings have decreased by nearly 50% of what there were in April of 2019. While the number of showings has dropped significantly, buyers are turning to what is becoming the new industry normal of virtual and video showings.

The bottom line: the real estate market for Central Oregon is still very much open for business, as is evidenced by the numbers. As we continue to move through this health crisis and states begin to ease the orders, I believe we will begin to see the market bustle as it has for the last several years…it is just going to be a little later than the sales cycles that we have become accustomed to. Interest rates are still very low and are projected to remain that way for some time. The neighboring states that have traditionally fed the growth and immigration for Central Oregon, will open back up and with that, movement will continue toward our high desert region.

It goes without saying that we live a different world than we did just seven short weeks ago. While the first COVID-19 market data is emerging, it will take several more months to realize the true impact of this virus on the real estate market. That said, your local real estate professionals are working hard to ensure that our markets are as physically safe and robust as possible. If you have any questions, as always, do not hesitate to contact a real estate professional.

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