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SWFL real estate agents see positive trend in housing market

The economy has taken a big hit because of the coronavirus pandemic, but local professionals in a major industry are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

Southwest Florida real estate agents are starting to notice signs that activity is on the upswing and their sales are improving.

“Was off to a successful year, and obviously in March, when everything came out, there was definitely a decline,” said Sue Pinky Benson with RE/MAX Realty Team. “We lost deals. People started to get scared.”

Benson said that although they took a hit, they are seeing some action again.

“Homeowners have equity in their homes now, so they don’t have to be as nervous as they might have been in the past,” Benson said. “Therefore, they are thinking, you know, what this might be a great time to buy because there are people that still need to sell, so let’s see if we can get a deal.”

Mike Dodge, the director of market research at John R. Wood Properties, said buyers still want to buy, and sellers still want to sell.

“Interestingly though, in the past couple of weeks, we’ve had three back-to-back weeks of increases,” Dodge said. “And over the past two weeks, showings have doubled from [2,700] to [5,200].”

Why is the market coming back?

“We entered a new norm, and there was some knee-jerk reaction to that,” Dodge said. “But people have become comfortable agents, and customers alike now understand, ‘OK, if I take precautions, then I can still buy or sell.”

And the way things are going, real estate agents are expecting to see more people buy later this year because of pent-up demand.

“I think we will see some very strong summer months as well,” Benson said.

Real estate agents say virtual showings will still remain an effective way to show and buy houses. But they will also be taking all precautions if clients do want to see houses in person as well.

“Based on what I see now, I have no reason to believe that once we pull out of this we won’t come back to where it left off or possibly … even better,” Dodge said.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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