Housing MarketReal Estate

Don’t expect home sales to slow down in 2021

Experts say homebuyers won't stop for anything


Real estate agents across the U.S. have been busy as a result of the pent-up demand from homebuyers due to COVID-19. From facing uncertainty in March from COVID-19-related shutdowns, to seeing home sales skyrocket through the summer into fall, it looks like homebuyers won’t be slowing down anytime soon, despite the holiday season approaching.

Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said he expects existing home sales to ultimately “be up a percent or more in 2021. The new home sales numbers had a big jump in 2020, and [there will be] more growth in 2021, but they’re going to have to rebuild that inventory, because anything that the builders are building today gets sold. So they’re working hard to try to build inventory.”

Typically, homebuyers slow down around August, when children are back in school and vacations end. But now, as schools have pursued virtual learning, vacation towns and luxury destinations have become part of the housing market boom as families are working and schooling from home and desire more space not available in the city.

New Jersey Century 21 agent Bill Lublin said typically there’s a slowdown in his market from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, but he said that everyone he has talked to remains busy. Being in the northeast, Lublin said that home buying really depends on the weather.

“Depending on how much snow we get, that has to do with what happens,” Lublin said. “But I think people still need places [to live].”

As for what he thinks will happen to home sales come 2021, Lublin said he thinks the housing market will remain strong, including single-family housing and even rentals. 

Lublin explained that even during the pandemic, the need for housing remains strong, and real estate agents are driven to provide it.

Monique Bryher, a Los Angeles area Realtor and publisher of the California Real Estate Fraud Report, said she thinks because the market is going as strong as it is in Los Angeles, it will continue into the next year. 

“I keep telling people who [are] in the mindset of a year ago or even immediately pre-COVID, where people were kind of nervous and trying to figure out where things were going,” Bryher said. “But all COVID did was accelerate the market going up.”

The amount of historically low housing inventory across the U.S. is clashing with the pent-up demand of homebuyers. And unless properties are in really bad condition or it is priced incorrectly, they’re going very fast in Bryher’s market. No matter what the season is, Bryher said the housing market will keep doing what it’s doing. 

“Well, usually, things slow down between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Bryher said. “And now…I think that this is going to be an atypical fall. And I think it’s just going to keep being very strong.”

The 2020 market made Long Island Real Estate Agent Jim Manikas throw any typical type of trend out the window. Manikas said that the only time he sees the slightest slowdown in the real estate market is the last two weeks of August, when kids are back in school. 

But this year, homebuying season turned into homebuying year. The average two-week slowdown Manikas said he sees in August didn’t happen this year, which he expected because of the pent-up demand from COVID-19 and the fact that there are still more buyers and sellers in the market, which Manikas said isn’t going to correct itself by winter.

“I expect it to be a very busy winter straight through the holidays and into January,” Manikas said. “In fact, the last three years, [there’s been] lots of studies showing that the buyer market actually begins in January, February now. There’s more online action in January, February, than there is in the typical, what everybody thinks is the big market in spring, which is March, April, May. So that, I’m very confident, will continue through the winter.”

As for home sales in the rest of 2021, Manikas doesn’t think the homebuyers will stop for anything. 

“I think it’s just going to go straight through the spring into the summer, I don’t think there’s going to be a lapse, and I don’t think there’s going to be any type of a dip,” Manikas said. “I think it’ll just bleed right through into the summer, [and will probably] see more normalcy, maybe after the spring.”

To view the other forecast articles in this series, click here.
To read the full December/January issue of HousingWire Magazine, click here.

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