Reports: U.S. Homebuying demand falling below pre-pandemic levels

ORLANDO, Fla. — After months of mayhem in the real estate market, data shows homebuyers may finally be taking a breather, with real estate agents reporting a slowdown in showings and bidding wars.

But a cool-down doesn’t mean things are ice cold.

“Instead of getting 20 to 30 offers [on the first day], we were getting three to five,” Keller Williams Agent Ray Lopez said, comparing the new numbers to a busy summer season.

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Lopez said he first noticed the slow down in early June, echoing a report by the real estate company Redfin that showed demand had fallen below 2020 levels.

Lopez explained that it was a combination of two factors: summer vacations and buyer’s fatigue.

“Some people are saying maybe I’ll wait a year, some people are saying hey, I can get more time on my lease,” he explained.

He said the cool down would not cause a fall in home prices, thanks to historically low housing inventories in the Orlando metro area.

According to Orlando Regional Realtor Association statistics, just 2,822 houses and condos were on the market at the beginning of June. The number is far lower than the 7,659 units on the market at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and 10,000 to 11,000 Lopez said is typical for the market.

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Looking around a condo that he was preparing to list, Lopez said the unit would have sold for $200,000 at the beginning of 2020. He said his asking price would be $240,000, which he said would easily draw multiple offers.

He explained that a cool-down, even a slight one, would be good for everyone.

“The winners are going to be the buyers, but also the sellers, because a lot of sellers have to sell and then buy,” he said.

Even with low inventory and buyers feeling like they’re paying a premium for their dream homes, Lopez said now through the end of 2021 was still a good time to buy.

The white-hot housing market era is coming to an end, with realtors reporting a slow down in viewings and bidding wars...

Posted by Nick Papantonis TV on Thursday, July 8, 2021

That’s because the average mortgage rate in Orlando was below 3%. Lopez said the rate is expected to rise through next year, along with home values, since Florida is the 2nd hottest large real estate market in the country after Texas.

“In theory next year, you’re going to buy at a higher price with a higher interest rate,” he said.

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That’s good news for people who bought homes this spring. Speaking from his front porch, Kyle Hioki said he paid near asking price for his two-bedroom house and put an offer in less than 24 hours after it hit the market.

Hioki said he had been worried about his investment.

“You buy when the market’s [higher] than it has been in a while,” he said. “It’s always like, what goes up must come down.”

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