Highland Hills

Newly built homes of the Highland Hills project on North Fork Street south of Cram Elementary.

While the state’s economic closure and stay-at-home orders have significantly reduced realty activity locally, housing prices have so far maintained, according to Ken Scott of East Valley Association of Realtors.

Scott gave a report on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and economic closures on Highland’s housing market during the Highland Area Chamber of Commerce’s virtual members meeting on Tuesday, June 23.

He shared that for the month of May the median sale price for a Highland home was $364,000, a 1.8 percent increase over May of 2019.

The number of home sales, 24, as well as the number of active listings, 46, showed significant decreases of 52 percent and 24.6 percent, respectively, from last year’s reality activity.

“We were still in a bit of a lockdown with the economy and the marketplace stalling at the same time, and people were wondering how it would impact the housing market,” Scott said of the month of May.

“This data shows us the strength of the housing market while we saw losses in home sales in a big way,” Scott said. “Prices held firm while the number of sales dropped dramatically and the number of houses to come to market stalled. Overall, the market seems to be healthy although activity has dropped.”

Scott said he believes the biggest impact came from the initial fear and uncertainty people felt during the first days of the pandemic and the stay-at-home order.

People who were showing their homes began pulling them off the market while others who were looking to buy decided they no longer wanted to shop homes.

Those who were selling were selling their homes at the listed price.

Should this reduction in activity continue it will eventually begin to effect prices, Scott opined, but, should activity pick up in June and July, the market “could bear out in continued strength.”

Scott shared that one of the strengths of the local housing market is the area’s competitive pricing during a time of great demand throughout the state.

“Our area has better pricing than most other markets in the region and the state,” Scott shared.

Scott briefly discussed commercial real estate saying it is a “whole different animal.”

“We know there’s plenty of businesses that aren’t coming back from this,” Scott said of the economic shutdown.

About the speed of a recovery, Scott said it’s impossible to predict.

“We’ve never been here before. The reality is there’s going to be a fallout from this from somewhere. We just don’t know where,” Scott said.

“This is a different world [from the 2008 recession],” Scott added. “The economy headed into this was really strong. People were making money, had jobs and, beyond that initial wave of fear, people still feel they can get out of this and feel like a home is a wonderful investment.”

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