After months of uncertainty, it is time to get excited! We are busier at Fidelity National Title than we have ever been, and that’s great news — it means our market has made an almost immediate bounceback from the slowdown this spring.
How the heck did this happen, and what can we expect next? Let’s take a look at the factors playing into this historic market moment.
Rates dropped in early 2020, spurring a wave of refinances that continues today — as the Treasure Valley market becomes more popular, so do housing prices, and residents now have a lot of cash tied up in their homes.
We went into lockdown.
The pandemic definitely slowed the sales market, but refinances continued. Now, we have both an increase in refis and a few months’ worth of pent-up demand.
Idaho is out of housing inventory.
To say we are low on inventory is the understatement of a lifetime. In a healthy market, agents can expect to have 6-8 months of housing stock on hand. Throughout the country as a whole, we currently have 2.3-3.3 months of inventory available. But in Idaho? We have 0.6 months of inventory. That’s not just a seller’s market. It’s a seller’s market like we’ve never seen.
Builders can’t catch up fast enough.
Large-production builders were able to continue unabated through the pandemic, but 80 percent of Idaho’s mid- to small-size builders had to pause building while they waited for the local economy to stabilize. That means we have even fewer new houses on hand than normal.
The pandemic changed sellers’ readiness.
How many of you started a home-improvement project during lockdown? If you did, you were in good company: a Houzz survey found that 79 percent of homeowners reported that they used the quarantine to dream up new home projects. Locally, we’re finding that people who were already ready to move into new homes were pushed along by the pandemic (spending 24/7 in a house you already dislike can be a great motivator, it seems).
Idaho is even more popular than it was before the pandemic.
We’ve all experienced the influx of new residents from high-priced states like California and Washington. In our office, we’re now meeting clients who are moving here from the East Coast. As offices become less and less location-based, our work world is becoming a whole lot smaller. We should expect to see people from states with higher income infrastructure take advantage of our low-in-comparison housing prices.
All of this adds up to a market we may never see again in our lifetimes. So how can you ride this wave? We’re finding that the most successful agents embrace technology in a way that hasn’t been seen before in this area. It is now possible for a buyer to go through the purchasing process, from start to finish, from home.
Using time-saving tools and outreach, branding yourself and making sure you have a strong presence online, and catering to the needs of clients who may not need (or even want) the same level of in-person interaction agents have traditionally employed will set you apart.
Now is also the time to really examine what your partners can do for you. How are they using tools, technology, and their own expertise to help you get ahead? Whether you choose to work with Fidelity National Title or another partner, ask yourself: What have they done for me lately?
Obviously, we want to see the agents we work with outperform the competition and their own expectations. We used our downtime during the pandemic to update our systems and processes, and I’m so glad we did — we’re ready to ride this bull market with you, and we’re excited to help you succeed.
Phil Archer is vice president - Treasure Valley manager at Fidelity National Title.