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Impacts To Real Estate Market Throughout The Pandemic

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One broker owner finds housing demand increased quite a bit, both in her home county and throughout the state, during the pandemic.

There was much to do about how the pandemic would impact the housing market in Wyoming: whether folks would downsize or upgrade, whether there would be an influx of buyers. Well, energy and natural resources reporter Cooper McKim spoke with Lingle Representative and broker owner Shelly Duncan to get a feeling for what actually unfolded a year later.

Credit Wyoming Legislature
Lingle Representative Shelly Duncan

Shelly Duncan: So, you have a lot of people who are relocating from, say, on their farm. They've decided that, 'Okay, now's the time. The markets good. So, rates are low.' Or they just had the right person come along and say, 'Hey, you know, would you be interested in selling.' We've had a lot of that happen. So, we've had a lot of people for farm and ranch that they sell the farm and they move into town: downsizing. We also have, keep in mind... people during the pandemic were having to homeschool their kids, well, if you normally have a job to go to, and you normally have a school to go to, and you have places to go, your two or three bedroom home isn't a big deal with two baths. But when you have a family of five or so, and you're having to live under the same roof and have nowhere to go, that gets tight. And so then you have those people who, maybe their job is secure, and they're doing okay during the pandemic, and they've been thinking about relocating or upgrading. We saw a transition where people are starting to move. And they're wanting these specific places for office or specific place for school or things like that, that we haven't seen in the past. So the pandemic has created a new buyer wish.

Cooper McKim: Do you have any idea where the biggest changes actually occurred within the state? If there was anywhere that was more popular than somewhere else?

SD: Well, that I'm not for certain, but I can tell you, everyone is experiencing 5-10 plus offers within minutes of the property being listed on the market.

CM: Okay, interesting. Was all this activity a surprise to you? Was there any thought that the pandemic might cool the housing market?

SD: Oh, completely. Across the board, all of us were prepared that we would be considered non-essential, and that we would have to close our doors. I participated in the PPP funds, because I was expecting that my doors would be closed, we wouldn't be doing any sales. So, none of us expected that we were going to have this increase in business, we thought everybody was just going to be shut down. So, we were amazed and thrilled that we were able to stay in business.

CM: You mentioned that any home is getting multiple offers. So, for those who might be looking at buying a house now, what can they expect?

SD: It's interesting, you're gonna see less inventory, for sure. We're just... across the board, have very limited inventory. So, you're going to go in as a buyer and expect that you're going to have to compete. So, first thing that they need to do is they need to make sure that they have everything ready and prepared prior to going in and looking. So, that means: go to the bank, make sure you're pre-qualified and make sure... how high you can go, and what your limitations are. If you really want an advantage, you really need to work with a realtor, because they're going to be the ones that have the insight of what's coming available and what's there.

Otherwise, you're going to be spinning your wheels, frustrated, because there's offers out there and you didn't even get to see it until it's already on the market, it's already under contract. So, just be prepared. Get all your financial documents and everything ready, so that you're ready to make an offer as soon as you walk into a house you find. And be be prepared to be aggressive. You're going to be disappointed in this market right now if you don't act quickly. The other thing is, is I would caution is rents, as as jobs increase, and as more fed money comes into the market, your rents are going to go up is what I see the trend and hear from economists is that rental rates are going to go up.

CM: That was representative and broker owner Shelly Duncan talking to us about the pandemics impacts on the Wyoming housing market one year since the pandemic began to hit Wyoming Hart. Thank you so much for joining.

SD: Great thanks.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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