Pandemic pricing: 5 cities where discounted homes are driving up demand

What you need to know about these cities and how to take advantage of pandemic pricing

It seems no industry is immune to COVID-19. Residential real estate, for example, has gone to never-before-seen extremes. Housing markets in sleepy suburbs and small towns are currently “on fire.” Simultaneously, the coronavirus pandemic caused New York City’s normally healthy housing market to come to “a screeching halt.” But that’s not to say all densely populated areas have been affected as badly as The Big Apple. In fact, according to a recent report published by Homes.com, there are at least five major metropolises where discounting has revived demand. Here’s what you need to know about these cities and how to take advantage of pandemic pricing, while it lasts.

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a prime place to buy right now.

Pittsburgh is a prime place to buy right now. (Homes.com)

Not into the ‘burbs? Try the ‘Burgh. Also nicknamed The Steel City and The City of Bridges (it boasts more bridges than Venice), Pittsburgh is a prime place to buy right now. According to Homes.com, as of late May nearly a quarter of Pittsburgh’s listings were discounted with the average discount being 24 percent. According to Zillow, the market temperature in Pittsburgh is “hot.”  That said, it’s still considered to be a seller’s market. In June, Pittsburgh Quarterly published “Pandemic Heats Up Housing Market” explaining how local real estate agents are crediting an increase in demand and a decrease in inventory – as potential sellers are reluctant to list their homes during a pandemic – for creating the perfect surge of buyers.

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Miami

According to Homes.com, in May, 27 percent of new listings in Miami were discounted below pre-pandemic prices.

According to Homes.com, in May, 27 percent of new listings in Miami were discounted below pre-pandemic prices. (Homes.com)

Jared Ringel, a principal agent at The Atlas Team in Miami, tells Fox News it’s a hot buyers’ market at the moment. Specifically, he uses the word “abundant” to describe the opportunities. “If someone truly didn’t need the cash now and wanted to get a market rate price for their home, they would have pulled it from the market during the pandemic,” says Ringel. “Now buyers have more leverage and it’s the time to strike.” According to Homes.com, in May, 27 precent of new listings in Miami were discounted below pre-pandemic prices. Still, just because the price is low today doesn’t mean it will be a good investment tomorrow. Ringel recommends thinking about the potential for return post-pandemic.

Los Angeles

At this time last year inventory was higher but so were interest rates

At this time last year inventory was higher but so were interest rates (Homes.com)

If you were looking for homes in L.A. from March to May, you would have found 63 percent fewer new listings compared to this time last year. However, 33 percent of new listings would have been discounted according to Homes.com. Buyers took note because by June, sales had jumped 40 percent for homes and 66 percent for condos as in-person showings resumed. “Some reluctant sellers who were hesitant in April, May or even June have caved and decided to list their home, improving availability,” explains Bob Bradley, a Realtor in Southern California. He says that at this time last year inventory was higher but so were interest rates. So, is it a buyer’s or seller’s market? Zillow considers the market temperature in Los Angeles to be neutral right now, and the Los Angeles Times reports median home prices are “inching up.”

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Austin

Zillow considers Austin’s market temperature to be “<a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.zillow.com/austin-tx/home-values/" href="https://www.zillow.com/austin-tx/home-values/" target="_blank">very hot</a>” right now with the median price of listed homes around $405,000.

Zillow considers Austin’s market temperature to be “<a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.zillow.com/austin-tx/home-values/" href="https://www.zillow.com/austin-tx/home-values/" target="_blank">very hot</a>” right now with the median price of listed homes around $405,000. (Homes.com)

There aren’t many bargains in Austin at the moment; however, the bargains that do exist are exceptional. According to Homes.com, as of May only 1percent of new listings were discounted. But – and it’s a big but – the average discount was 35 percent. Zillow considers Austin’s market temperature to be “very hot” right now with the median price of listed homes around $405,000. Still, inventory is having a hard time keeping up with demand. June saw a big rebound in sales – actually up 9.3 percent from June 2019 sales. However, unless inventory levels increase prices will continue to climb over the summer months.

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Chicago

Nearly one-third of new listings were discounted by an average of 26 percent.

Nearly one-third of new listings were discounted by an average of 26 percent. (David Mark)

Like every other city Homes.com looked at, Chicago saw a decline in sales early on in the pandemic. However, as demand and supply increased in April, prices dropped accordingly. Nearly one-third of new listings were discounted by an average of 26 percent. Still, the best deals might be out of most buyers’ budgets. “Right now there's tremendous demand for ‘starter homes,’” explains Matt Frankel, CFP and investment advisor with The Ascent, a company by The Motley Fool. “As a result, there’s a stronger demand at the lower end of the market and that means higher-priced homes are most likely to sell at a discount.” That could change though as more short sales hit the market. Currently, Chicago is in one of the most vulnerable counties in the U.S. for foreclosures. That’s bad news for current home-owners but great news for buyers looking to take advantage of rock bottom prices (albeit with more risk).

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