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Las Cruces Realtors weathering COVID-19


Nationally, real-estate business activity is slowing, but many Realtors remain hopeful for a post-pandemic market rebound, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors.

Locally, some of the national trends are tracking, and some are not.

The Bulletin reached out to Realtors Jeffrey Stevens and Terriane Morrison Everhart for their thoughts regarding key findings from the national poll and how the local market is either reflective or different. Stevens is an associate broker, and Everhart is a qualified broker/property manager, both with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/N.M. Properties.

Poll finding: Due to the outbreak, 90 percent of members said buyer interest declined, and 80 percent of members cited a decline in the number of homes on the market.

Stevens: We’ve seen some buyers decide this is not the right time to purchase a home, but we have also seen other buyers renew their interest in finding a home to take advantage of lower interest rates. There are sellers out there who are putting their houses on the market. Single-family housing inventory in Dona Ana County is low, down 6 percent from this time last year.

Poll finding:  Home prices look to hold steady after rising before the pandemic. Almost three in four members – 72 percent – said sellers have not reduced prices to attract buyers. Conversely, more than six in 10 members – 63 percent – said buyers are expecting a decline in home prices as buyers sense less competition in the current environment.

Stevens: Overall, Dona Ana County has seen a slow but steady rise in home prices. The current average sale price is $223,000, up about 4 percent from this time last year. It is still important to price your home within market value. Buyers may find some wiggle room on price, but I doubt you will see a dramatic decline in the average sale price.

Poll finding: Technology plays a vital role as the real estate industry adapts to the new reality of managing deals virtually with social distancing directives in place.

Stevens: Most of us have already implemented technology into our everyday business practices. With the threat of COVID-19, we rely on e-signatures and video conferencing with our clients. Showing homes via 3-D virtual tours is catching on. 3-D tours allow buyers to tour before they decide on a possible viewing and purchase.

Poll finding: Residential tenants are facing rent-payment issues, but many delayed payment requests are being accommodated. Nearly half of property managers – 46 percent – reported being able to accommodate tenants who cannot pay.

Everhart: In my opinion, Dona Ana County residents have always been community-minded, extremely giving and socially responsible. Now is no different. We are seeing many owners accommodating their tenants in this uncertain time. There have been temporary government mandates set in place to protect owners and tenants.