Buyers and sellers appear to be returning to the market in many parts of the U.S., but inventory issues continue to plague many areas as well.

Multiple agents across the U.S. said Tuesday afternoon that they are very busy, despite the pandemic-driven economic slowdown, though there are variations from market to market, and the real estate landscape doesn’t appear to be fully out of the woods yet.

The agents congregated for a series of networking sessions during Inman Connect Now, a first-of-its-kind real estate event that was held entirely online due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the first session, which focused on the Midwest and other central regions of the country, agents said that business is essentially on fire.

“We really haven’t dropped off too much, we’re really about the same as last year at this time,” Tammy Shugart, an agent with Prime Realty in Oklahoma City, said. “Our restrictions were pretty minor. We’ve been in good shape the entire time.”

Shugart also said that her market has seen an influx of investors and that at some price points properties continue to see bidding wars.

Real estate professionals discussing the market during Inman Connect Now Tuesday. Credit: Inman

Jack Miller, president and chief technology officer for T3 Sixty in Austin, Texas, told a similar story.

“Engagement is very high right now,” he said during the session. “In some areas it’s actually above where it was last year.”

Miller went on to say that there has been a “snap back” into the market on the part of consumers — which actually surprised him — and that price per square foot is also up.

Tanya Hawkins, a RE/MAX agent in O’Fallon, Illinois, also reported being extra busy right now.

“Our market has been really active,” she said. “Buyer confidence is at an all time high in our area.”

And Lexie Longstreet, a broker at Savvy + Co. Real Estate in Charlotte, North Carolina, reported being in a similar position.

“I didn’t slow down a single day during COVID,” Longstreet, who joined a later session focusing on the East Coast, said. “I can’t keep up. It’s just been crazy busy.”

Clockwise, from top left, Tiffany McQuaid, Renee Funk, Alyssa Hellman and Bill Wendel — all of whom discussed the real estate market during Inman Connect Now Tuesday. Credit: Inman

Obviously that’s all good news for agents who are managing to stay active during the crisis.

But there are still some challenges, the biggest of which appears to be lack of homes for sale. Miller and Hawkins, for example, both mentioned that inventory is down in their area. Kim Glaser said the same thing.

“Things are starting to pick up, as far as listings,” Glaser, a RE/MAX agent in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, said, before adding that she is seeing “low, low supply.”

Additionally, not every market is the same. Bill Wendel — the Boston-based founder of the Real Estate Cafe — said that he has actually seen the scales tipping toward buyers, who “have leverage now that we have not see in years.”

No matter what market agents are working in, however, virtually everyone who appeared during the sessions agreed that the present moment is a unique one. And for agents who think critically about their work, that may present opportunities.

“We have this huge opportunity in front of us to explain the process to people,” North Carolina real estate coach Alyssa Hellman said. “I think there’s kindness in explaining to people how to help right now.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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