Over the past few weeks, real estate agents have seen luxury spring back to life in some of the country’s more well-known luxury markets near Silicon Valley, between Denver and Colorado Springs, just outside of Baltimore and in Orange County, to name a few.
But what about those “other” luxury markets that don’t necessarily come straight to mind? Inman reached out to various agents in secondary or up-and-coming luxury markets across the U.S. to see how business has fared as buyers and sellers are finding a new sense of normal living during a pandemic.
And — for now at least — business is bustling.
“Surprisingly, they’re picking up,” Tiffany Curry, broker-owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Tiffany Curry & Co., Realtors in Houston, told Inman. “We had a big decline in April in terms of buyers being out for showings … from the later part of March to all of April was kind of different for us. But May was a very strong month … people started getting confidence back to go back out and start looking.”
“It’s been a very busy month for us,” Curry said.
In both Raleigh and Seattle, cities in which Travis Groome’s brokerage, The One Real Estate Group, operates, the broker/owner said luxury saw an initially significant slowdown as well.
“For the second half of 2019 and well into 2020, the high-end luxury market has been slower than the properties closer to median value for both Raleigh and Seattle markets,” Groome told Inman in an email. “Those high-end price points typically have about a 20 percent longer time on market even in a healthy market, but that luxury market saw a much more dramatic shift to even longer time on market during the first few months of the COVID-19 restrictions.”
However, just recently those luxury markets are finally starting to see increased traffic once again.
“Ironically, it is that high-end market that we are starting to see moving again since some of the COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted, and that is coming from a combination of factors,” Groome said.
Groome mentioned that, across all price points, sellers are becoming more motivated with less restrictions in place, and both buyers and sellers are feeling more financially confident with businesses going back to work. He noted that these sentiments have trickled into the luxury market as well.
Over in Cincinnati, luxury listings have started to leave the market at a rapid clip as well.
“Definitely there’s been an uptick in the amount of closings,” Paul Sian, Realtor at United Real Estate Home Connections in Cincinnati, told Inman. “Starting around May and June, the numbers have gone up [and] average days on market have reduced.”
Sian’s luxury properties are moving much more quickly than a year ago, and he suspects it will continue to do so.
“I’d say [sales are] up compared to last year,” Sian said. “Last year, I received a lot of properties that were sitting on the market longer. This year, they’re less time on the market, buyers are more active and there are fewer homes on the market overall. I think in the coming weeks and months, sales will continue at a hot pace.”
In Boise too, a market that’s been up-and-coming of late, interest in luxury listings is experiencing a surge. Even as early as April, Deborah Phantana, a Realtor with Group One Sotheby’s International Realty, said she started to see more luxury buyers coming in from out of state looking for larger homes and access to outdoor space.
“I have more clients than usual that are looking for luxury properties and I think that’s two-fold,” Phantana told Inman. “Not only because they’re coming from out of state, but they’re looking for homes that will work for them better.”
“I would say I’m up 75 percent year-over-year,” Phantana added. “As I reflect on our April market, as numbers were down across the state and nation, I was already seeing an uptick.”
Not only has Phantana seen an increase in luxury market demand, but she’s also seen anxious buyers speeding up their timelines and making all-cash offers regularly.
“The pandemic has made my clients accelerate their decision-making process to come to Idaho,” Phantana said. “Buyers who are wanting to make quick decisions and quick moves.”
“Every single one of my luxury buyers are cash,” she added. “I would say that even in our luxury market with cash buyers, we have seen multiple offers with other cash buyers.”
Ryan Cannon, a Realtor with RE/MAX Traders Unlimited in Peoria, said that luxury properties that have been sitting on the market for years are suddenly seeing a resurgence in popularity, and leaving the market within weeks of listing.
“Properties that have been on the market for the past few years have been selling now,” Cannon said. “[People are] moving from densely populated areas to these mega-houses that have lost popularity over the past few years because there was too much maintenance involved or they didn’t need that much space. So what I think COVID did for us … is that there’s value in that space again. To be able to have a home office, room for your kids, your gym, your outdoor space all in one property … We’re really seeing that come to our market.”
In particular, Cannon said buyers are seeking out waterfront properties more than before.
“All of that is leading to a pretty robust luxury market down here with some of our river view and lake view properties,” Cannon said. “People appreciate that again.”
Cannon added that his average days on market have dropped from about 91 days one year ago to just over 60 days today.
“It’s the lowest days on market we’ve ever had,” Cannon said. “Our pending sales just at our local RE/MAX Traders Unlimited have doubled year-over-year. And that’s with the same core group of agents.”
Update: This article was updated on July 6 to include the full name of the brokerage owned by Tiffany Curry, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Tiffany Curry & Co., Realtors.