As Colorado transitions out of lockdown toward a loosening of COVID-19 social and economic restrictions, it can become confusing as to what is and isn’t permitted, especially due to the overlap and often conflict between state and locally mandated protocols.
In real estate, offices are allowed to open and conduct business provided county-approved protocols are observed. While open, offices can operate only at a maximum of 50 percent of normal occupancy.
Employees and agents must sign in and record their temperatures when arriving and leaving the office and wear face masks while there. Sanitation stations must be provided for regular disinfecting of surfaces and hand washing, and social distancing practices must be observed. Any person displaying COVID-19 symptoms must stay at home.
When showing a property, a maximum of three people are allowed in the house at a time, those being the showing agent and no more than two decision-making buyers. Masks and gloves must be worn, and touching of any surfaces kept to a minimum.
It is recommended that prior to the showing, the seller turn on all lights, open all window coverings and things like closet doors to more easily facilitate the showing without the necessity of the agent or buyer touching door knobs, curtains, blinds and light fixtures.
So what effect has the current COVID-19 climate had locally on real estate? Certainly, April saw a downturn in the number of sales, properties pending and listed over previous years – hardly surprising given the near total shutdown of real estate companies during that time.
Interestingly, of the properties that did sell, median prices rose, while days on the market decreased.
Perhaps May figures, when available, will paint a truer picture of the market – will the loosening of protocols lead to an increase in market activity, or will social reticence and economic uncertainty see a continuing cooling off?
If I had to gaze deep into my crystal ball and make a prediction, it would be that any cooling off will likely only be temporary. My sense is the lockdown experience will likely cause many city dwellers to reassess their relationship with where they live and also make more people think more seriously about the realities and possibilities of working remotely where possible.
However, in these uncertain times, about all we can say with certainty is that time will tell.
Hayden Mellsop is a board member of the Realtors of Central Colorado.