Excerpt from GlobeSt.com's May 1, 2020 issue:
The pandemic has certainly impacted the housing market, but some developers have yet to see a drop in activity. Baldwin & Sons is among the housing developers that continues to see strong demand. In the first quarter of the year, both Otay Ranch in San Diego and The Oaks at Portola Hills in Orange County surpassed its sales goals with increasing traffic throughout the quarter.
“Bidding wars among prospective buyers were cropping up,” Melissa Hazlett, VP of Sales & Marketing for Baldwin & Sons, tells GlobeSt.com. “As you know, there has been an ongoing issue surrounding our new home supply, which consistently fails to match the demand for homes within the state. This is a highly desirable state among homebuyers, as demonstrated by the robust buyer pool in coastal counties in the southern part of the state.”
That isn’t to say that the developer hasn’t seen an impact from the pandemic. Sales slowed at the end of March. “The Coronavirus undoubtedly took many of us homebuilders by surprise. Even those of us distantly aware of the virus’ presence abroad couldn’t foresee how much it would impact the housing market once it hit our shores,” says Hazlett. “When it did, subsequent stay-at-home orders across the country led to homebuilding and buying activity slowing toward the end of March, albeit to varying degrees, and depending on regional infection levels and government mandates.”
As a result, the developer had to pivot quickly to help meet new buyer demands and protect both workers and prospects from the outbreak. This has increased the role of technology in the sale and showing process and all financial applications and sales contracts are done remotely. “Virtual tours of the homes are being conducted at a much higher rate, as are personal guided tours with sales staff via Facetime and Skype,” says Hazlett. “Walkthroughs with new buyers at the tail end of the process have been modified so there is no face-to-face interaction.”
These additions have not been cumbersome for the developer, and they have been effective in helping to move sales even through stay-at-home orders. “We’ve even received several thoughtful testimonials from our buyers indicating they felt the purchase process was seamless and that they appreciated the heightened customer service they received from our sales associates during this challenging period,” adds Hazlett.
The pandemic certainly will have an impact on home sales, but there remain a number of demand drivers, from low mortgage rates to a housing supply shortage. As a result, Baldwin & Sons is expecting steady interest from buyers.