The Iowa Association of Realtors report shows home sales continued at a good pace in March despite precautions instituted to protect everyone during the pandemic.

Scott Wendl is president of the association. “We actually got a pleasant surprise considering the coronavirus. March sales jumped 6.6% over last year — and pending sales jumped 9.3% — which is a big surprise also,” Wendl says.

Wendl says weather was probably the biggest factor in the increase from last year. “Last spring, early spring, late winter was pretty awful. The weather didn’t cooperate once and I know that slowed people down,” he says. “Interest rate also dropped at the beginning of this year — which really motivated a lot of people to either refinance their house or look for a different one.”

Wendl says there were some other good numbers in the report from March. “The average sales price right now is $170,000 compared to $160,000 back in 2019. And the other nice thing, is our average days on the market went form 75 days on the market in 2019 down to 73,” according to Wendl. “And our inventory picked up a little also. I know last year we had less inventory, and that has gone up almost 5.2%.”

Wendl says the did see more of a coronavirus impact on sales in the last half of March, and they may see that continue in April.
“It sounds like some people are kind of pausing the search. Some sellers are a little nervous about having people go through their homes,” Wendl explains. “I know a lot of realtors are taking safety precautions to cover their face, wash their hands. And a lot of sellers are making accommodations also, they are leaving doors open, leaving lights on — trying to avoid any physical contact in the house and spreading anything.”

Wendl says the virtual tours, video walk-throughs and modified closings to accommodate the social distancing measures have gone well for those who want to buy and sell homes.