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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Home sales take a hit, but remain brisk at entry level

Kacie Kinney, an agent with Keller Williams Realty in Yukon, says she makes sure everyone involved knows this protocol for showing homes. [PHOTO PROVIDED]
Kacie Kinney, an agent with Keller Williams Realty in Yukon, says she makes sure everyone involved knows this protocol for showing homes. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

Things were looking up in the metro-area housing market at the end of March — the number of listings, pending contracts and prices — and now everything is up in the air because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sales activity is down, despite a rush to remote showings, virtual open houses and other online options.

In the first three months of the year, Realtors closed 3,681 home sales, 5% more than in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.

The average sales price for the quarter was $224,304, up 2.9% compared with January-March of last year. The median price was $192,000, up 5.2% compared with the first three months of 2019.

The number of new listings in March was up 8%, and the number of pending sales was up 4.6%, compared with March 2019, according to the association's statistics for Oklahoma City, Arcadia, Bethany, Blanchard, Deer Creek, Edmond, Harrah, Luther, Midwest City, Moore, Mustang, Newcastle, Nicoma Park, Norman, Piedmont, Tuttle, Warr Acres and Yukon.

Then the pandemic hit, businesses closed their doors, unemployment soared and people started staying in their homes, which left fewer people shopping for houses.

"We've been pulling numbers weekly. We started with a 30-50% decrease in actives three weeks ago, then last week it hit pending sales," said Kacie Kinney, an agent with Keller Williams Realty Elite in Yukon. "Every school district is faring differently. So far, it seems Canadian County is a little more sheltered. Oklahoma County and specifically OKC schools is way down (47+% on actives). Edmond is also taking a big hit.

"This week the state as a whole is down 41% in active listings, 25% in pending listings, and 25% in solds over last week in 2019."

Sales activity has slowed, apparently, everywhere except the always-popular areas and across price ranges except for entry-level houses. Agents, inspectors, buyers, sellers and others are donning masks, using sanitizer, adhering to social distancing mandates and taking other health safety precautions.

"We listed a home in SW OKC at $118,500. It went multiple offers but our other listings aren't showing very much," said Kirsten McIntyre, an agent with Keller Williams Central Oklahoma in Edmond. "When I've had to enter homes, I glove up and social distance. I don't go in homes for inspections and stay in my car for closings.

"I can also tell you sellers aren't wanting open houses and most Realtors aren't doing them except for the virtual ones. I can also tell you we've had two people decide not to list right now, and some of our buyers are waiting until the peak to start looking again."

Some buyers can't, or won't, wait.

"I have a listing I just put on the market and within an hour had three showing requests," said Beth Atkinson, broker-owner of Metro Group Brokers in Midwest City. "Real estate is moving out east."

Weathering crises

Job losses and furloughs have cost some would-be buyers their credit at the last minute.

Tyler Barnes, an agent with Oklahoma Country Homes in Guthrie and Wellston, said he'd had two contracts fall apart when the lender balked after learning the buyer had been furloughed.

Jennifer Gilchrest, with Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, 1624 SW 122, said she'd had two sales fall through due to a a job loss related to COVID-19.

Whether online or in person, Gilchrest said, some showings must go on — because life is going on amid the crisis.

"We have many people needing to sell and buy, job transfers, and more," she said. "We are providing those services for them, primarily virtual, but occasionally are opening a door. We have four homes that sold within a day over price in the past month and have about 12 on the board."

Experience with previous catastrophes — and the latest communications technology — have seasoned brokers and agents prepared to change their ways to fit circumstances beyond their control, said GiGi Faulkner, broker-owner of RE/MAX First, 1000 W Wilshire Blvd., Suite 428.

"In past business crises the real estate brokerage business has quickly adapted," Faulkner said. "In the infamous '80s we learned how to sell foreclosures and worked with adjustable-rate loans in the 10-15% range. In the late 2000s we learned how to manage the mortgage crisis and negotiate short sales. After the Oklahoma City bombing, real estate and other business paused for a time. We were in mourning. We simply tried to understand and show kindness.

"Real estate in the time of the coronavirus has aspects of all these events. We have been unbelievably fortunate to have been deemed essential, but we see other businesses and our friends and family who are suffering. There is a large movement of compassion for our fellow man.

"This time, technology has made our work possible in ways that we didn’t have before — personal meetings, virtual showings, marketing, and closings. But the driving force is adaptation. Because we make our living only when we produce a result for a customer, we have had to adapt to any circumstances we find ourselves in. And we’ve done this faster because of technologies in place."

Related Photos
<strong>Jennifer Gilchrest, left, an agent with Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, 1624 SW 122, is seen in a promotion wearing a mask during the closing of a home sale. [PHOTO PROVIDED]</strong>

Jennifer Gilchrest, left, an agent with Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, 1624 SW 122, is seen in a promotion wearing a mask during the closing of a home sale. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ce53822828daafa67c32b5aa5b93641a.jpg" alt="Photo - Jennifer Gilchrest, left, an agent with Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, 1624 SW 122, is seen in a promotion wearing a mask during the closing of a home sale. [PHOTO PROVIDED] " title=" Jennifer Gilchrest, left, an agent with Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, 1624 SW 122, is seen in a promotion wearing a mask during the closing of a home sale. [PHOTO PROVIDED] "><figcaption> Jennifer Gilchrest, left, an agent with Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, 1624 SW 122, is seen in a promotion wearing a mask during the closing of a home sale. [PHOTO PROVIDED] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0c51d318aecd75a68eefd9fd51bb2e85.jpg" alt="Photo - Kacie Kinney [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" Kacie Kinney [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> Kacie Kinney [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8c8533e5638e162f7459b991ce9e6a44.jpg" alt="Photo - Kacie Kinney, with Keller Williams Realty Elite in Yukon, says she listed this home at 3709 N Linn Ave. a week ago. With a 24-hour notice restriction, she said, "we started showing on Easter Sunday through Monday. We had 13 showings and four offers. Sold over asking price." [PHOTO PROVIDED] " title=" Kacie Kinney, with Keller Williams Realty Elite in Yukon, says she listed this home at 3709 N Linn Ave. a week ago. With a 24-hour notice restriction, she said, "we started showing on Easter Sunday through Monday. We had 13 showings and four offers. Sold over asking price." [PHOTO PROVIDED] "><figcaption> Kacie Kinney, with Keller Williams Realty Elite in Yukon, says she listed this home at 3709 N Linn Ave. a week ago. With a 24-hour notice restriction, she said, "we started showing on Easter Sunday through Monday. We had 13 showings and four offers. Sold over asking price." [PHOTO PROVIDED] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4d8df206a354ae6581bd2eddedc86068.jpg" alt="Photo - Kirsten McIntyre, an agent with Keller Williams Central Oklahoma, has this five-bed, five-bath home at 4700 Stampede Drive in Edmond listed for $565,000. All but entry-level houses are starting to linger on the market with the coronavirus. [PHOTO PROVIDED] " title=" Kirsten McIntyre, an agent with Keller Williams Central Oklahoma, has this five-bed, five-bath home at 4700 Stampede Drive in Edmond listed for $565,000. All but entry-level houses are starting to linger on the market with the coronavirus. [PHOTO PROVIDED] "><figcaption> Kirsten McIntyre, an agent with Keller Williams Central Oklahoma, has this five-bed, five-bath home at 4700 Stampede Drive in Edmond listed for $565,000. All but entry-level houses are starting to linger on the market with the coronavirus. [PHOTO PROVIDED] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-34d11a5acefdfed1d01705e785430f19.jpg" alt="Photo - Jennifer Gilchrest, with Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, 1624 SW 122, is doing most of her work at home because of the coronavirus. [PHOTO PROVIDED] " title=" Jennifer Gilchrest, with Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, 1624 SW 122, is doing most of her work at home because of the coronavirus. [PHOTO PROVIDED] "><figcaption> Jennifer Gilchrest, with Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, 1624 SW 122, is doing most of her work at home because of the coronavirus. [PHOTO PROVIDED] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-66327a3a0ca57ca4cc91a7acbbed1ba9.jpg" alt="Photo - Colette Naff, Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, says she has had one showing of this home at 2225 NW 193 since listing it on March 26, even providing a virtual tour online. [RICHARD MIZE/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Colette Naff, Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, says she has had one showing of this home at 2225 NW 193 since listing it on March 26, even providing a virtual tour online. [RICHARD MIZE/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Colette Naff, Keller Williams Realty Green Meadow, says she has had one showing of this home at 2225 NW 193 since listing it on March 26, even providing a virtual tour online. [RICHARD MIZE/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e03a9e1962ca38968d589fd1b1578241.jpg" alt="Photo - Kacie Kinney, an agent with Keller Williams Realty in Yukon, says she makes sure everyone involved knows this protocol for showing homes. [PHOTO PROVIDED] " title=" Kacie Kinney, an agent with Keller Williams Realty in Yukon, says she makes sure everyone involved knows this protocol for showing homes. [PHOTO PROVIDED] "><figcaption> Kacie Kinney, an agent with Keller Williams Realty in Yukon, says she makes sure everyone involved knows this protocol for showing homes. [PHOTO PROVIDED] </figcaption></figure>
Richard Mize

Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked... Read more ›

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