Local Realtors See Steady Activity in Luxury Market
Posted May 24, 2020 in Special Features
Steady is the word, as described by members of Greater Vancouver Luxury Homes about the upper end real estate market in Clark County. While the country has been rattled by the pandemic and fears of economic downturn are looming, these real estate professionals have not seen much of any impact on the luxury market. Going into the busy real estate season now, they report noticing an increase in home sales in certain price ranges, with stable market prices and serious buyers.
“The pandemic has had virtually no effect on the upper end market in terms of listings, pendings, and solds,” said GVLH member David Horowitz. He also reports that home prices have remained stable and the buyers who are shopping right now are serious. His GVLH associates tend to agree.
“Sellers are holding steady on their prices as long as the house is priced per market value,” observes GVLH member Lori Anderson-Benson.
For the upper market, Lori reports seeing the most movement in the $1 million to $1.5 million range. “There’s not a whole lot on the market between $1.5 million to $2 million. Those are slim pickings,” she said. “$2 million and up are the ones sitting the longest and not moving as quickly. But those don’t usually sell quickly in any market anyway. They take their time.”
“On the upper end we have serious buyers,” said GVLH member Martiné Gibbons. “This is a good time to buy and our inventory on this side river is great.”
“There’s some price adjustment but not much,” Horowitz said. “A lot of sellers have dug in their heels and are sticking to their price. There’s no bargain shopping. Properties aren’t selling for much under asking prices.”
For those considering selling their home right now David’s advice is to set the price right and be patient. “If you’re reasonable with your asking price you’ll see a transaction come together, but you have to be patient,” he said. “Properties that are priced appropriately tend to move.”
And movement is what these GVLH members are noticing. “What’s generally happening is things are picking up. Things have started to pop a little bit,” David said.
“It’s an interesting market,” says Anderson-Benson. “I’ve noticed the last month there’s been more activity.”
Gibbons says her clients are getting multiple offers and she is not seeing this slowing down. “Sometimes I hear about back up offers even though a house is already pending. Interested buyers will call to see how the transaction is going,” she said.
All this activity has been keeping these local Realtors busy, even during the pandemic. “I hear about people having all this free time, but I haven’t had any!” Lori exclaimed. “I’m as busy as I was before.”
Martiné says she’s busy also and is hearing the same thing from her colleagues. “We’re all active and getting phone calls.”
Changes to how homes are shown
Though the way that homes are being shown is different now due to public health regulations, buyers don’t seem to be deterred by these changes.
“The showings have been picking up,” says Horowitz. He keeps track of the statistics provided by one of the lock box companies that Realtors use to secure homes. “The number of people going into houses has increased, across all markets,” he said.
Many Realtors like Lori Anderson-Benson have changed the way they show a home. “I’ve done the 3D video floor plans on all of my properties now,” she said. “It’s been nice for people out of state. Buyers didn’t want to travel here unless it’s something they really want.”
For in-person showings, social distancing regulations require houses to be shown by just one broker taking one person into a house at a time, with gloves and masks and hand sanitizer. “Brokers arrive early to get doors open and lights on so that buyers aren’t touching anything,” Lori says.
Who are the buyers and what are they buying?
Lori Anderson-Benson says many of her buyers include people relocating from out of state, and families wanting to upsize or downsize. She says she has observed more people moving out of the city, unlike the last recession when people were moving into cities. She reports seeing more suburban and rural properties starting to move faster now.
“With the stay at home order people are wanting to get out of the city to have a garden and not to have neighbors right on top of you,” she said. “It’s unprecedented that people are stuck at home like this. People have decided they want to live where they can be really happy because of spending so much time in their home. Home is kind of your castle.”
Martiné Gibbons has noticed some people upsizing in retirement now. “I’m actually seeing people retiring and buying acreage. They’re looking for privacy and thinking about the grandkids playing on the property,” she said.
“People are relocating for work, people are moving from Oregon for tax purposes,” says David Horowitz. “We have historical low interest rates. It’s good time to buy.”Horowitz, whose market knowledge is centered on the Camas side of town, says he sees steady buyer activity across many property types. “We’re seeing movement in acreage, land, condo. The sales and pendings we’re seeing are across the board,” he said.
Another thing David says he has noticed is increased interest in custom homes on lots. “There’s an increasing appetite in Clark County to buy a lot and build a house. Some of the past Parade of Homes
builders are now working with buyers on custom homes on the buyer’s lot,” David said.
Doorways to Luxury Home Tour
Greater Vancouver Luxury Homes is a partnership group of Realtors from local brokerages who share knowledge and resources in order to better serve specialized luxury home clients. Every year the group presents Doorways to Luxury, a spring home tour where GVLH members present their best properties to the public. This year the tour has been postponed but there are plans to bring it back in the fall. “Right now we’re looking at a Doorways to Luxury home tour in October,” Horowitz said. “We usually have 25 to 30 homes on the tour. We’ve been doing this for ten years or so. It’s been very successful.”