Billings real estate market holding steady amid pandemic

Posted at 7:20 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 16:12:51-04

Real-estate professionals are confident that Billings’ hot real estate market can rebound quickly even after the cool down from the COVID-19 crisis.

For the first three months of 2020, house sales in the Billings area were ahead of last year's pace, according to most recent stats available from the Billings Association of Realtors. This year, 580 homes were sold in the Billings area compared to 508 in 2019.

April’s numbers likely won't be as strong since Montana has been under the stay-at-home order for the entire month.

Buying or selling a home may seem like the last thing any many people’s minds during the COVID crisis, but Bryan Gentry with Montana Real Estate Brokers says it hasn’t slowed business like you might expect—although it has changed it.

“It’s really changed it for me. It went from a handshake business to, 'I can’t shake anybody’s hand anymore. I’ve got to stay six feet away from them,'” said Gentry.

Most everything that can be done by a computer is done that way - virtual tours have taken the place of open houses. When a house is shown, special precautions are taken.

“We can go out, we can meet with two clients, one agent. Tour a home wearing our masks and sanitizing anything we may touch with Clorox disentfecting wipes and so forth," Gentry said.

Gentry believes that some sellers may be more hesitant right now to list their homes with what has been going on.

Deb Parker, the president of the Billings Association of Realtors, says there still a lot of people looking to buy a home in the Billings area.

“Our inventory is down a little bit from last year, so we would like to see more inventory in our market waiting to buy. So it certainly is still a good time to be selling,” said Parker.

Parker believes it won’t take long for any slowdown to pick back up in Billings once the economy reopens fully.

“I think Billings can weather this pretty well. As long as we get to see those people employed again, I think we will move along in our market fairly easily. So that is our hope, that we see people getting re-employed, and just our economy getting started again so that we can continue moving forward,” Parker said.