Real estate market remains strong despite coronavirus
Despite the changes resulting from COVID-19, people throughout the country continue to search for, and purchase, their next home. According to Angela Sicoli, president of New Jersey Realtors, "tight inventory" coupled with low interest rates prime 2020 to be "another great year," perhaps even better than 2019.
This is great news for people moving to Seabrook, an Erickson Living-managed community in Monmouth County, N.J., where, in May, inventory was down 39.5% from the same time last year. Meanwhile, median sales price rose 10.2%. In nearby Ocean County, inventory for single family homes dropped 48.1% while median sales price rose 6.2% over May 2019. Middlesex County saw a 50% drop in inventor and a 7.2% increase in median sales price. Sicoli adds that low interest rates aid in buyers' ability to afford a mortgage. It's a prime situation for sellers.
Prospective Seabrook community members are even further aided by a team of experts in the moving process—professionals hand selected by Seabrook's sales team and Senior Sales Associate Kristin Phillips.
"Kristin helps people take baby sips instead of drinking from a fire hydrant when it comes to downsizing and moving," says Sales Director Dan Simms. "Most people see the benefits of an active continuing care community like Seabrook. But they say they can't move yet because of all their 'stuff.' That's where Kristin comes in."
Even during a time when meeting in person isn't possible, Phillips develops a plan with each person moving to the community to remove the hurdles that often surround a move. She recommends preferred real estate agents and senior move managers and coordinates the general logistics of moving to Seabrook. These professionals use both technology and approved safety measures to help their clients.
"I have been so impressed with the resiliency and creativity of our trusted realty and moving partners when it comes to helping our community members move to Seabrook during this unusual time. We are grateful to have such an amazing team," Phillips says.
Considered essential employees, real estate agents throughout New Jersey were allowed to continue working and serving their clients throughout the pandemic with certain restrictions and precautions. New Jersey Realtors encourages the use of virtual tools, such as FaceTime or Zoom, for showings, while one-on-one showings were permissible. As of June 15, open houses are permissible, though all parties must wear masks, practice social distancing, and follow the indoor capacity limit of 25% of the building's occupancy.
While in the past, real estate agents relied on a combination of photographs and online tours when listing a new home for sale, in recent months, they've found new ways to use online connections. Technology like Zoom, FaceTime, and WebEx enables them to meet with clients virtually, while video makes it possible to publish "virtual showings" so that buyers don't have to enter the home until very sure they want to buy. 3-D interactive photo tours also enable buyers to view the home.
Even the closing can be conducted remotely. On April 14, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill allowing a remote notary to be given two different proofs of ID, plus an audio and visual recording of the performance of the notarial act. All of these efforts are further supported by the current strength of the New Jersey market.
"Because people assumed this would be a bad time to sell while interests are low, we are actually experiencing an all-time low of inventory," says Simms. "What's actually taking place is that buyers have fewer choices, and homes are selling faster now and for higher prices. It's actually a great time to list your house."
To learn more about Seabrook's Realty and Moving Services, call 1-800-615-9625.
About Seabrook: Seabrook, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 98-acre campus in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,400 residents and 750 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information about Seabrook can be found at SeabrookCommunity.com.
Photo: Brighton apartment home at Seabrook. Seabrook's preferred real estate agents and senior moving professionals have been using technology and a variety of approved safety measures to continue helping their clients sell their homes and move to Seabrook.
Written by Julia Collins