Home sales have dropped sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, according to North Texas realtors and the Home Builders Association of Greater Dallas.
Potential buyers were told to stay at home, and many sellers worried about allowing buyers inside existing homes.
Builders association executive director Phil Crone was home himself recovering from his own case of coronavirus.
“I’m feeling really well, back to my regular fitness routine,” Crone said. “And interestingly enough, my wife never showed any symptoms.”
Crone said two-thirds of his members reported significant decline in sales traffic since the onset of COVID-19.
“And that’s certainly no surprise with people not available or willing to get out of their homes,” Crone said.
Frisco was the hottest area in North Texas for home sales the past few years, but homeowner Drew Frick put his existing home on the market at the worst possible time.
“Literally the week that I listed the house, the bottom fell out,” Frick said.
His home on a big corner lot has had just eight showings since he listed it.
“We would have anticipated that maybe the first weekend, but unfortunately it’s been that for 4 1/2 weeks now,” Frick said.
Things could improve this weekend with “stay-at-home” orders ending Friday.
“Builders are definitely willing to negotiate. They are anxious to see the traffic that is coming out there,” Crone said.
One inventive example is the “Front Line Heroes” program from Megatel Homes.
Medical professionals and first responders who buy a Megatel Home get 6 months of mortgage payments totaling up to $30,000. Other buyers get 6 months of payments with a $10,000 limit if they lose their job.
Attracting buyers helps home builders keep construction workers employed, as well.
“As business owners, we all have to do things that are creative, help each other,” Megatel co-president Zach Ipour said. “In return I think we will see successful results in the near future.”
Frick said he and his realtor have done all they can to be sensitive to the concerns of buyers.
“We put hand sanitizer, we put disinfectant wipes at the door, for people to walk in. And the realtors themselves have pretty good protocols,” Frick said.
Even as stay-at-home orders end, the home builders association recommends that model home showings remain on an appointment-only basis with visits only from the people necessary for transactions and not entire families.