The stock market has plummeted and businesses across the nation are struggling amid concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
But there are some safe investment opportunities for people here in the Golden Isles.
Jeff Williams, associate broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodnett Cooper Real Estate, said this is an ideal time to invest in real estate.
“We are currently seeing business as usual with regards to properties currently under contract,” he said. “My contacts on the lending side have said they have not seen any loan packages pulled.”
The uncertainty in the market is an ideal time to invest in property because buyers have an opportunity to leverage a lower price for a home, and interest rates are near record lows.
“I believe uncertainty offers opportunity,” Williams said. “You have interest rates off the charts. A few months from now, who knows what the rates will be?”
Even during the Great Recession, Williams said housing values increased.
“Take advantage of the uncertainty of other home seller’s who are going to sit out the next few weeks,” he said. “You’ll have a large pool of buyers to yourselves.”
If a stimulus package is approved by President Trump, the extra infusion of cash may be what will enable first-time home buyers to lock in a low rate and help pay closing costs.
When Williams does show a home to a prospective buyer, he and the client drive to the home in separate vehicles and all the necessary health precautions are made to ensure the health of everyone.
“We’re trying to keep things at arm’s length,” he said.
Interested buyers can do a vast majority of work online, minimizing the face-to-face interaction that normally occurs during the home-buying process. And buying a home can often have a positive impact on the business community with many buyers hiring contractors to paint, landscape and make other improvements.
“The ripple effect from a home sale is exponential,” Williams said.
Lenders also believe this is an ideal time to invest in a home.
“I think real estate is very strong, still,” said Brian Strickland, of Coastal Mortgage Solutions.
The current market crash is “fear-driven” creating the wild fluctuations in interest rates, he said.
The low rates make it an ideal time to invest in real estate as a safe hedge for people concerned about the volatility of the stock market.
“Real estate has always been a safe investment,” he said.
Strickland said it’s still a seller’s market, but the low interest rates enable people to buy more home for the money.
“The lower the rate, the more purchasing power the buyer has,” he said. “This helps first-time buyers. The rent market is through the roof here.”
Those concerned about social distancing will be happy to learn the only time a client has to meet with a lender is during the closing process. The only people who need to be present are the buyer, seller and the closing attorney, he said.
“I can do everything electronically,” he said. “I’m definitely getting more applications in. It’s changed the way I market myself.”