Low home sales not indicative of real estate crisis, Tampa broker says

If you're thinking of selling your home, some realtors say now may be a perfect time. With open houses canceled and in-person showings frozen, the local real estate market is seeing a major drop in inventory.

The sunshine state is home to one of the nation's largest housing markets. The success is built around face-to-face buying and selling, but now COVID-19 has some realtors rebuilding their business model.

"We have pivoted 180-degrees to meet the market demands, but also to remain safe," Greater Tampa Association of Realtors President Darlene Davenport said.

With in-person open houses put on pause, virtual tours are now helping to keep the local real estate industry going, and at a busy pace. It's much more than Tampa real estate broker Sophia Sanchez could have ever expected.

"Sixteen years I've been doing this and it's all-out nuts,” Sanchez exclaimed. “I thought I would get a break. My word of the year was 'pause.' That has not happened at all.”

According to new numbers from the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, in the first part of April, homes sales were down by 50% in Florida, but they made a quick comeback. The end of the month only saw about a 20% decline.

"We saw the safer at home order contribute to those not being comfortable and should not have been comfortable to get out," Davenport said.

As Davenport explained, sales may be down, but it's no sign of a housing crisis.

"Those quite honestly who have been at home have realized they've spent more time at home and it's time to maybe improve their home or maybe downsize," Davenport said.

If you do plan to buy or sell, online tools like Zillow.com and Realtor.com can help make the buying process much safer.

"They can do all of their preliminary homework before they ever step foot in the house. Drive by the neighborhood first, but don't subject to health concerns," Sanchez said.