FAQs Regarding Real Estate and the Pandemic

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Why is the Sun Valley area so hard-hit by COVID-19?

The Sun Valley area has always been a “go-to” place for affluent people from the West Coast, and so the opportunities for the virus to arrive here in Sun Valley have been numerous. A high-profile national skiing group had their annual ski extravaganza here in early March, and there was at least one other event in town in early March that had attendees from across the country. Additionally, many second-home owners from across the country have come to Sun Valley to get away from the cities and centers of population, perhaps unwittingly adding to the concentration of cases we have here in Blaine County.

How is this going to affect the local real estate market?
No one really knows. But what we do know is that Idaho has been the fastest-growing state in the country for the last year, and that trend is expected to continue once we return to some semblance of normal. With people moving to Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and Pocatello, the Sun Valley area will likely increase in popularity, as new-to-the-state residents will be looking for their ideal playground. Which we know Sun Valley is!

Will COVID-19 cause another Recession, and will this cause the housing market to crater like it did in the last Recession in 2008?
Most experts assume that the health crisis will affect the housing market similarly to 9/11, which is to say it is an EVENT that stopped the country in its tracks for a moment, but didn’t necessarily “break” any economic systems, like the Recession of 2008 did. In fact, that recession was the only one of the last 10 or so that negatively impacted the housing market; people usually turn to their homes and real estate in general when the economy slows down, and home values typically rise during most recessions. So while there will likely be a short-term dip, most housing and financial experts predict that the rebound will be quick; a classic V-Shape, economically speaking.

Should I leave my property on the market and if so, what safety measures are being taken during showings?
There are no showings allowed through April 12 at the earliest, at which time the county will re-assess the situation. Since no one is going into your home so there should be no safety issues. That being said, consumers are spending even more time online during this social-distancing time. Having a property on the market, even without the opportunity to have it shown, is crucial to letting potential buyers see it and consider visiting it when the showing restrictions are lifted.

If my property is currently listed on the market, what are my options?
We will continue to market your property online. We are posting property links on our facebook pages and when appropriate, sending links and information to the Sun Valley Board of Realtors. A seller can decide to withdraw their listing at any time, but that is not advisable given that people are still looking at real estate online.

If I am a buyer looking for real estate in the Sun Valley area, is now a good time to look and consider buying?
The past fall and winter have been a “Seller’s Market,” as inventory of good homes has remained low in the area and nationwide. Will this health event change that? Our sense is that sellers are not putting their homes on the market with the regularity they otherwise would, which will keep inventory lower than normal, which will keep it a Seller’s Market. We have not seen any instance of sellers just “unloading” their property at a low price because of the pandemic. This is not a recession, and home values are still climbing.

Instead of buying right now, I might want to rent. What are my options?
The rental market has been tight in the Wood River Valley for at least a year now. There may be more rental opportunities right now as sellers take their homes off the market but still don’t plan to live in them. However, until we are able to set foot in homes again, the ability to rent is likely severely compromised, until at least April 13, which is when the county will re-assess the isolation orders.

Should I consider renting out my home either short or long term?
Homeowners choosing to rent their homes out are in a good position right now, given how tight the rental market has been. While every situation is unique, the lack of inventory suggests that a home is going to have a good chance of attracting buyers once we return to some semblance of normal. Having a long-term renter in a home that was listed might make it more difficult to sell the home in the foreseeable future.

Should I wait it out assuming there will be foreclosures and desperate sellers?
None of the data suggest that sellers are going to become desperate. Unlike the Recession of 2008, home values remain strong and are actually still growing steadily, and most owners have a fair amount of equity built up in their homes, meaning they would likely not be in a position to have to sell (again, unlike in 2008). Every situation is unique, and certainly some owners may need to sell. But waiting for foreclosures or desperation sales does not seem like a good buying strategy right now.

I was planning to build on my lot this summer, what is going on with construction?
There is a moratorium on construction through the middle of April, at which time the county will re-assess as to whether construction is an “essential service.” Since no one knows how long we will be self-isolating and social-distancing, it is wise not to make any predictions about building right now. Also wise would be to make sure you have been in touch with the builder of your choice, and are on their schedule. There is sure to be a back-log.

Links for More Information
Ketchum City Website
Eye On Sun Valley
Idaho Mountain Express newspaper
Idaho Statesman
IRS Tax Info