If you’ve been thinking about selling your house for whatever reason – to move up, move away or downsize – now might be a good time to call your real estate agent. Local agents say it’s a seller’s market, even in the middle of a pandemic.
“It’s gone from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market real quick,” said Mitch Anders of United Country/Anders Realty.
Judy Short, of Weichert Realtors-Short Way Real Estate, agreed.
“We are so short on houses; we are begging people to list houses,” she said. “We have buyers waiting.”
“It’s definitely a seller’s market. It’s actually a little crazy; we just don’t have enough listings to sell,” said Mike Thomas, marketing director/associate broker at Berkshire Hathaway Homes Services Mountain Sky Properties.
All three agents said that business has been steady over the past few months.
“It’s been going on for the past year, but not to this extent,” Thomas said.
“It’s been a busy fall and winter and spring,” Anders said. “The pandemic is kind of a blip on the radar.”
“It’s just crazy,” Short said. “We’ve been busy all through the pandemic. We’ve kept right on selling.”
Short said she doesn’t know why people aren’t listing their homes as much – it could be the pandemic, the upcoming election in November, economic uncertainty or it might just be that people are satisfied with where they are living and think it will be difficult to replace what they already have, she said.
Anders agreed that people are content and like where they are living.
The issue is for people who want to upgrade or down grade – it’s difficult for them to the quality they want, he said.
Thomas thinks the coronavirus has helped the situation.
“We have people who want to move into a bigger house after being locked in their home,” he said. “My wife and I just put a contract on a bigger house; it (their current home) got small real quick.”
Thomas said amenities like stores, etc. have always been an issue for rural markets, but with companies like Amazon offering next-day delivery, that is not as big of a concern anymore. Also, more people are working from home now and can live where they want to instead of where they have to, he added.
A lot of people aren’t selling because they think no one would buy during a pandemic, but that is not the case, Thomas said.
The agents said properties are selling fast.
“I sold my neighbor’s house earlier this year for $500,000,” Thomas said. “Normally, in that price range, it would have taken a year to sell. I think it was under contract within the first month to month-and-a-half.”
According to Short, on Monday, there were 133 residential properties on the market in Wythe County. Of those homes, 47 were under contract, leaving 86 homes for sale. She said the sweet spot for prices are in the $100,000 to $200,000 range.
“Right now, unless it’s ridiculously over-priced, anything in the $100,000 to $200,000 range will be gone in the first few days on the market,” Thomas said. “That is not common for Wytheville, not in my experience, not in many years.”
According to Thomas, last year from Jan. 1 to May 31, the average home sale price for his company was $142,000. This year, for the same time period, it was $172,000.
“If that doesn’t tell sellers they need to put their house on the market, I don’t know what would,” he said.
Right now, only 24 homes are for sale in Wythe County the $125,000 to $175,000 price range, Short said.
In Bland, there were 18 active properties and nine under contract for a total of 27 homes, she added.
Thomas said there’s more of an inventory problem in Bland than in Wythe County. Both counties are out-performing other areas, he added.
Bland real estate agent Joey Dykes posted on his Facebook page this week that three of his last four listings have gone under contract in less than 72 hours. The fourth listing sold in 16 days.
If you are looking to buy in Wythe County, there’s everything for sale from mobile homes to mansions. The most expensive properties range from nearly $900,000 to $2.2 million.
On Church Street, there is a 6,682-square-foot home selling for $898,000. Over on West Spiller there’s a $2.2 million mansion, and in Austinville, there’s an antebellum home with nearly 260 acres for sale for a cool million.
In Bland County, there’s a 3,100-square-foot log home on Price Ridge Road sitting on a 340-acre lot for $1.2 million.
Both agents agreed that many buyers are people leaving cities looking for a quieter, less crowded way of life. Others are senior citizens heading south to retire because of lower taxes and more reasonable home prices.
“Real estate goes around and comes around,” Short said, adding that Rural Retreat is a hot spot for homes right now.
“That’s where people are going,” she said. “We just need a house. I will sell a cracker box right now if people give me something to sell.”
“What we hope happens is that with all of this crisis in the big cities, it will get people thinking that living in a small town would be nice,” Anders said. “And it probably will happen. They are just figuring out what we have known all along.”
To reach reporter Millie Rothrock, call 276-228-6611, ext. 35, or email email@example.com.