Here, we set out to understand what’s happening and what to do about the COVID-19 real estate market.
Housing circumstances have changed
Depending on how you’ve weathered the pandemic storm, there may be some substantial changes in your life. Perhaps you are still working from home, and may continue to do so post-pandemic as a result of evolving office policies. Alternatively, you may have left your role or changed jobs, leaving you with an entirely new commute option. Maybe market changes and low mortgage rates have you pining to trade-in a congested high-rise for the open space of a freehold home.
No matter the situation, COVID-19 has changed perspectives all over: rent drops have seen some relocating to penthouses, cancelled weddings present new opportunities to invest, and others are fleeing the city for more space.
Jumping into the market
It may be tempting to double down on your house hunting and make lemonade out of pandemic-lemons, but Chris Cook, real estate agent and founder of the Halyard Group cautions against rash decisions in this market: “Unless you have to, or there is an amazing opportunity, be sure you know what you’re trading.”
For individuals in the rental market, it may be tempting to take advantage of falling residential rent prices — but Cook reminds us that the price difference may not be that great, especially when you factor in the costs associated with relocation. Things to think about include the cost of moving, furniture purchases, and setting up utilities.
There’s also the element of staying in place — it’s best to avoid movers packing up (and touching) everything you own. A better strategy? Cook recommends discussing your lease terms with your landlord, and potentially negotiating a reduced monthly payment. Landlords may be interested, particularly if you are an easy tenant.