In many ways, the real estate market forked during the pandemic. While high-end home sales have slowed, new home sales have not been affected by the pandemic. Property developer Baldwin & Sons has continued to generate strong sales in its new developments. In addition, home pricing in these properties has increased without disrupting sales activity.
"When the coronavirus first hit California, we weren't sure how it would affect our business." Melissa Hazlett, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Baldwin & Sons, told GlobeSt.com. “We recognize that as a home builder we have been fortunate to be identified as an Essential Company from the start, and that both our construction and sales efforts have continued, albeit with precautionary measures that safeguard the safety of workers and customers guarantee. We quickly revised our sales process and put many elements online. That worked wonderfully. Many of our communities continue to sell out and we have received positive feedback from many buyers who have gone through the sales process with us during this unique time. However, we have seen a price increase that has no impact such as a slowdown in sales, adjustments to loan terms or changes in the escrow process. "
The low interest rates were crucial to the sales activity. Now prices are falling again and the developer is forecasting a new increase in sales. "Throughout the coronavirus, we have seen exceptionally low interest rates," says Hazlett. "These record lows have undoubtedly attracted buyers, and our communities in San Diego and Orange Counties have seen strong sales for the past two quarters," he says. As Freddie Mac reported in an October 1 report, interest rates fell again last week, with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hitting 2.88 percent. For comparison: a year ago this rate was 3.65 percent. "
In addition to interest and interest rates, buyers are also looking for flexible floor plans that are more conducive to the work-from-home and distant learning models that companies and schools introduced during the pandemic. “We find that our floor plans with flexible spaces are really attractive to buyers today. For example, houses with rooms that can be used as home offices or have spaces that can easily be turned into functional learning spaces for children at home are understandably in demand with buyers, ”says Hazlett. “Additionally, our luxury communities like Bella Sitia at Otay Ranch and The Oaks in Portola Hills have wonderful indoor and outdoor spaces that attract our buyers. With so much more home living now taking place, it is not surprising that these types of features are attracting buyers today. "
Hazlett does not expect this trend to reverse. Looking to the future, she can expect healthy sales activity. “Our outlook is very positive,” she explains. “We don't see any signs that sales will slow down. Right now with COVID-19, families are looking for something positive. Buying a home is still the American dream and brings nothing but sheer joy to our families. We are honored every time a buyer closes the escrow account they held at Otay Ranch or The Oaks. "