Local real estate agents are expecting that pent-up demand will create a highly competitive housing market now that the Finger Lakes region is in phase two of reopening.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that real estate agents in the Finger Lakes region can immediately resume in-person open houses. For much of the last two months, only virtual open houses were allowed, and Greater Rochester Association of Realtors President Andy Kachaylo said that kept many people out of the market. He’s expecting that to end now.
In fact, Kachaylo thinks his industry is going to have a weekend that’s out of this world.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am. I’m probably more excited than a 5-year-old on Christmas morning,” said Kachaylo. “That’s going to be real estate this weekend, it’s gonna be like sitting in a space shuttle taking off or in a rocket.”
Kachaylo said home listings dropped about 50% after the pandemic began in March. Since the phased reopening began in mid-May, he said anxious buyers are eager to check out houses.
“I would say that we’re about to double the amount of available buyers and maybe add 25% more listings,” said Kachaylo.
Realtors will have to follow a number of protocols in order to show houses or apartments. Owners and tenants can’t be present, only one person can tour at a time, and masks and gloves are required.
Kachaylo agrees with the protocols.
“To a buyer or seller, who needs to buy or sell, they don’t care what we have to go through, they just want us to help them," he said. "So we will do whatever we have to do. Because the alternative is we can’t help anybody.”
Kachaylo expects the next few months to resemble March and April, which are typically the local housing market's busiest time.
Longtime Realtor Mark Siwiec agrees. He said buyers, sellers and realtors have been waiting for this moment for months and will adapt quickly.
“It will continue to be a market that favors sellers, there will not be enough properties on the market to satisfy the needs of the buyers looking to purchase,” Siwiec said.
But Siwiec is concerned about the long-term health of the market. With unemployment high and a recession likely, he said the boom he’s expecting could last only a few months.