"Our priority is the safety of Naples residents and our members, as we all continue to practice socially responsible distancing while we conduct business during this health crisis," said NABOR® President Lauren Melo, PA, Licensed Real Estate Broker with Florida's Realty Specialists. "With the assistance of technology, creativity, and cooperation, real estate professionals are successfully completing transactions."
To encourage a safe path to homeownership, NABOR® implemented three new actions in April to assist members as they conduct business during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- NABOR® lobbied state and local governments to successfully recognize real estate services as an essential service, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security;
- NABOR® created a COVID-19 addendum and amendment to sales contracts to protect buyers and sellers;
- NABOR® trained members on new COVID-19 related services including virtual open house tours, COVID-19 stimulus relief package benefits, and new lender requirements.
According to Brenda Fioretti, Managing Broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, "The good news is that - even during a pandemic - Naples home values are being maintained. The report shows April's overall percent of current list price received increased .5 percent." This figure represents what the buyer paid for their home compared to the seller's listed sale price. In April, the contract price averaged 95.9 percent of list price. In comparison, during April 2019, the contract price averaged 95.4 percent of list price. This statistic demonstrates that homes in the Naples area did not lose their values during April, the worst month of the pandemic to date.
Median closed prices increased .3 percent in April to $340,000 from $339,000 in April 2019. "Although there were slightly fewer price decreases in April than in March, still 1,654 or 31 percent of all listed properties experienced reductions in their offering price during April," said Jeff Jones, Broker at Keller Williams Naples.
Like many essential service businesses, REALTORS® in Naples focused on implementing new strategies and modifying their business models during April to comply with self-distancing practices and accommodate for the welfare and safety of their staff, clients and the community.
"We saw a surge in virtual showings during April," said Budge Huskey, CEO, Premier Sotheby's International Realty. "What happened was a buyer would participate in several virtual showings, typically while their REALTOR® did the walkthrough onsite. Then, once the buyer eliminated the options down to one or two homes, they would do a physical walkthrough."
As people were urged to stay home in April, showings decreased to 9,420 from 22,862 in April 2019 (does not include virtual showings). As a result, pending sales in April decreased 53.6 percent, as was expected.
"The desire for virtual home showings has risen rapidly," remarked Fioretti. "During video tours, agents become the eyes of the buyer. They're talking more than they would on a traditional tour, pointing out things that would be obvious in person but aren't as clear through a camera lens like the quality of workmanship on any repairs or whether a bedroom will fit a king-size bed. Virtual home tours are becoming the new first step in homebuying," added Fioretti.
Another asset that REALTORS® added to their toolbox in April was NABOR®'s COVID-19 contract addendum (or amendment for active contracts). The revised contract extends a closing date for an agreed amount of time if the lender is unable to approve the loan due to temporary obstacles caused by the pandemic including employee furloughs, and delayed appraisals, inspections, or government filing services.
"Given the amount of uncertainty right now, agents are quickly adding our special coronavirus addendum to new and existing contracts to provide some breathing room for delays in this fast-changing environment. These new documents are keeping deals together," said Jones. "It's providing much peace-of-mind for both buyers and sellers."
The NABOR® April 2020 Market Reports provide comparisons of single-family home and condominium sales (via the Southwest Florida MLS), price ranges, and geographic segmentation and includes an overall market summary. NABOR® sales statistics are presented in chart format, including these overall (single-family and condominium) findings: