GRAR Member Update
Friday, May 1, 2020
Dear GRAR Members,

Now that we are entering a new month, we thought it would be worthwhile to focus on market activity as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis. In this update you can see the severe impact this has had on our market since March, but also the gradual increase in activity as we start to see signs that the virus’s spread is slowing and the state is considering options to slowly and safely re-open the upstate economy. While we remain fully focused on protecting the health and safety of our members and the community we serve, we should all begin preparing for an eventual return to business in a limited manner over the next month or two.

As mentioned in our last update, GRAR is working with Bob Duffy on a Phased Re-Opening Plan that can be shared with the Governor for the Rochester and Finger Lakes region. We are also working with our partners in the NYS Alliance of MLS’s and NYSAR to share our thoughts on a phased re-opening with other regions of the state. Since our MLS service area covers multiple NY regions, we feel it is appropriate to have a consistent and coordinated approach to re-opening as much as possible.

We would like to thank all of you who sent in your thoughts on how to re-open. We received many, and it was encouraging to see that there were very common themes from across our membership on what made sense in a limited re-opening. We hope to be able to release our plan next week after we share with Bob Duffy and work out any final changes. 

As always, please reach out to us at GRARHelpDesk@grar.net with any questions and check your Member Portal for general news items. 
Andy Kachaylo,
GRAR President
Jim Yockel,
GRAR CEO
In addition to the typical statistics reports we receive, analyze, and distribute each month, quarter, and year, the following two graphs have been helpful with painting the picture of the status of the local real estate market activity in the months of March and April.
First Quarter Market Statistics
GRAR issued the first quarter market statistics along with this press release earlier this week. Links to the market statistics reports for March and the Q1 are below.
Real Estate Sales Slowed After Strong Start To The First Quarter
ROCHESTER, NY (April 28, 2020) - First quarter housing market statistics for the Greater Rochester region reflect an expected downturn in the second half of March and for the quarter as a whole due to COVID-19 and the New York State on PAUSE executive order, according to the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors® (GRAR).

In Monroe County, New Listings were down by 3.6 percent for the quarter relative to the first quarter of 2019. Closed Sales were down by 9.6 percent while the Median Sales Price continued on an upward trend (+8.6%) in the first three months of the year. The rest of the GRAR region saw similar results.
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, February 2020 saw an 11 percent increase in New Listings, compared to February 2019, across the entire GRAR region, which covers Rochester and the surrounding counties along with portions of the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier. Pending Sales were also on the rise (+4.8%) in February.

Although real estate activity has continued since the PAUSE order began, it is being conducted in a very different manner with the help of technology. While the overall level of buying and selling activity has decreased, demand has remained strong for the properties that are on the market.

“We are still seeing multiple offers and houses selling for more than the asking price on homes that are properly prepared and accurately priced,” said GRAR President, Andy Kachaylo.

“After the PAUSE order went into effect, the operative word quickly became “how”. How can I sell or buy given the quarantine?”

Mr. Kachaylo commends the local real estate industry along with the home buying and selling public for being so quick to adapt to the new environment. “We were all thrown a curve ball. Everyone needed to learn new equipment and processes for a different game. We hope this won’t last much longer, but we’re prepared to continue to serve the community in a safe and effective way.”

In an April 23 press release, The National Association of Realtors® reported results of a survey the organization recently conducted. The survey showed that 3 in 4 Realtors® currently working with sellers – 74% – indicated that their clients haven’t reduced listing prices to attract buyers, suggesting interested home sellers are remaining calm and avoiding panic-selling during this time.

“Consumers are mostly abiding by stay-in-shelter directives, and it appears the current decline in buyer and seller activity is only temporary, with a majority ready to hit the market in a couple of months,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
NAR's Most Recent Survey and Press Release
More Than a Third of Realtors ® Closing Transactions Report No Delays

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2020) – More than a third of Realtors ® who are closing transactions – 35% – reported no delays, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors ® .
“Nearly 70% of Americans have secure employment and those interested in purchasing homes are looking at the enticing mortgage rates,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “One in five potential buyers have dropped out of the market due to job loss concerns, hopes are the massive financial stimulus package can help replace a good portion of lost income until the economy steadily reopens. More home sellers are needed to relieve the acute inventory shortage.”

NAR’s latest Economic Pulse Flash Survey – conducted April 26-27 – asked members how the coronavirus outbreak has impacted the residential and commercial real estate markets. Several highlights include:
  • Three in 10 Realtors® said they were able to complete nearly all aspects of real estate transactions while complying with social distance directives.
  • Sixty-one percent of members reported working with home sellers. More than 3 in 4 Realtors® working with home sellers said their clients aren’t reducing listing prices to attract buyers. A majority of Realtors® – 64% – reported buyers are looking for some discounts in home prices.

NAR also today released its 2020 Realtors ® and Sustainability Report , which surveyed Realtors ® about sustainability issues facing the real estate industry. Several highlights include:
  • Seven in 10 Realtors® said energy efficiency promotion in listings was very or somewhat valuable.
  • A majority of Realtors® – 61% – found clients were at least somewhat interested in sustainability.
  • Forty-one percent of homes with green certifications spent neither more or less time on the market.
  • The home features clients listed as very important to their agent or broker included a comfortable living space; proximity to frequently visited places; and windows, doors, and siding.

           “As many families are currently spending more time at home, some are taking on improvement projects involving sustainable features,” said Jessica Lautz, NAR vice president of demographics and behavioral insights. “Some buyers are also deciding to purchase homes with environmentally-friendly components. In both instances, these households look to either reduce utility costs or increase personal comfort within their home.”

           View NAR’s 2020 Realtors ® and Sustainability report here:

View NAR’s Economic Pulse Flash Survey report here:

View NAR’s Weekly Housing Market Monitor here:

The National Association of Realtors ® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
GRAR will be sending updates every Monday and Thursday until further notice.

Please visit the GRAR Coronavirus page for all updates, other related information, and links to NAR, NYSAR, and the New York State Coronavirus pages.
Also, please join the GRAR Members Only Facebook Group to get updates from GRAR as well as view and participate in discussions. GRAR Members Only Facebook Group .
Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS® | grar.org