Al Picchi, Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Capital Region offices of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, recently spoke with the Albany Business Review about why a reported 30% decline in real estate sales didn’t reflect the “whole story” of May 2020.
Howard Hanna, the largest residential broker in the Albany region, finished the month of May with $106 million in sales contracts. Compared to $152 million in May 2019, this is a 30% decline in sales.
However, 2020 is unique due to the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the spring, real estate was among the industries that experienced an immediate impact from the mandatory business shutdowns in mid-March to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Sellers and buyers were both affected by closures and restrictions, and real estate agents had to adapt quickly to virtual-only tours and other changes to the traditional way of doing business.
On May 27, real estate sales resumed in the state of New York, with specific health and safety guidelines in place. In the article, Picchi notes that the pent-up demand for home sales could be seen immediately as business began.
“I was saying to my management team the other day we’re going to write $100 million in contracts in May,” Picchi said. “It’s a number you don’t think of doing during the Covid-19 crisis.”
Picchi currently expects strong numbers in June and has hopes that home sales in 2020 may even yet grow past 2019’s numbers, despite the shutdown.