CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The real estate industry is thriving as many other businesses struggle to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The early stages were rough, as the buying and selling of homes was essentially put on hold at the beginning of the pandemic.
But now, excited home buyers and successful agents are coming together, leading to big purchases:
“With everything that happened with COVID, interest rates really dropped really low, and it seemed like the right time. Because of that, I got a great interest rate. I had been renting for several years, and really just wanted to start building some equity.”Aliecia Bores, first time homeowner
For first time homeowner Aliecia Bores, buying during a pandemic turned out to be a great choice. Real estate agents say she’s not alone:
“Inventory has stayed really really low, but demand has really hit a peak.”Gentry Radwanski, Real Estate Agent
Gentry Radwanski, a real estate agent with the Boulevard Company, says that low inventory is driving demand:
“I don’t think this inventory has been this low, the last I checked was like 1999.”Gentry Radwanski, Real Estate Agent
Which means Radwanski is selling more houses than ever:
“I didn’t think back in March we would be having our best year yet, but here we are in September and that’s the case.”Gentry Radwanski, Real Estate Agent
Chris Gonzalez, the Branch Manager of Direct Mortgage Loans, says the boost in the real estate market is being felt by everyone in the industry:
“Third quarter of 2020, we are actually going to out-produce our entire 2019.”Chris Gonzalez, Branch Manager Direct Mortgage Loans
A huge part of that is historically low interest rates, Gonzalez says, in the mid 2% range:
“What people don’t realize is how much more home you can actually afford. So, even if you had gotten pre-approved last year and you ran your numbers and you thought ‘hey I could afford a $300,000 home,’ it is totally worth looking at those numbers right now because people are being able to afford a lot more home, and keep their mortgage payments the exact same.”Chris Gonzalez, Branch Manager Direct Mortgage Loans
Some advice to those on the fence:
“I would say go for it! Why the heck not? I mean, the interest rates are really low, this is the time to do it, you know? I have a brand new house, I love it, and just go for it!”Aliecia Bores, first time homeowner
Industry experts also say that with more people working from home, quality of life is more of a concern than ever before.
People are moving out of small apartments in high density cities like New York and D.C., and moving to places like Charleston where they have access to nature and more room to spread out.