Local real estate market seeing decrease of showings, new listings due to pandemic

Jeff Alexander This week kicks off what is traditionally the start of the busiest time of the year for buying and selling homes.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on the local real estate market.

"April, May, whenever it starts warming up, people want to get into the market and buy a home, sell their house, they just get excited about moving because that's what traditionally people do," says Ben Bartolazzi, an area real estate agent.

However, right now, that's far from the case, and it's having a dramatic impact on inventory on the market.

"Sellers are holding off on listing their home so we're seeing the supply of new listings go way down, even more than what we were seeing earlier in the year, which is hard to even imagine that the new listings are going even further down, so we're averaging seeing, like in Brown County, maybe 5-15 new listings a day, where we typically see 30-40 new listings a day," adds Bartolazzi.

That means, the average number of weekly showings compared to this time last year is down 57%.

"We were getting a lot of activity and then you saw when the shutdown happened, how it just tanked," said Bartolazzi.

There's still some activity, and he says with no open houses due to COVID-19, 3-D virtual tours of homes allow buyers to narrow their choices.

As for private showings, they're generally restricted to just one or two people, with plenty of disinfectant wipes for doorknobs and light switches.

"It's such a huge decision on which home you want to buy and until you can actually walk through that home and get that home feel, it's hard to know if you want to buy it or not," said Bartolazzi.