I continue to drive my dogs for their morning slow tour of the neighborhood. Some days I don't see anyone. Some days the sole farmer who is moving around this area will pass us by. Occasionally there is a random car or truck. It is quiet. It is very quiet even for this world. I remember when I first came to the Northern Neck and went to do yoga with a great group of women. When driving back home at around 8 p.m. I was initially spooked by the fact that I might see no cars in a 30 minute drive. Granted, this was all back roads, but still....having moved from DC (right near the Zoo) and prior to that NYC on the outskirts of SoHo, this sort of quiet would be unimaginable. It became normal and now I understand it and appreciate it and in a way relish it. Where could I drive at 20 mph and not have to pull over for an almost half hour tour of the neighborhood?
The ride now includes a new development. Normally there are geese and goslings at a pond on our route. I hadn't seen any geese in the last few weeks....well, there was one goose who I thought....he/she must be lost, what in the world are they doing here by themselves, but otherwise that was it. In the last two days two sets of adults have emerged with their goslings. There is a set of 5 and a set of 3. It's clear to me that they are at least two weeks old and maybe older. I've often seen them when they are just little softball size bits of fuzz and these are older than that. They are all quite brave or cavalier. Generally I have to stop to let them cross the street for I must be traveling at the time that they emerge from the woods where their nest sites must be and come out onto the lush cut grass that surrounds this pond. I know that I will follow their growth and will marvel at how quickly it all changes.
Where I turn around to come home there's been a truck parked. I know what that means and although I kept intending to look things up I got distracted for quite a while. It is turkey season right now meaning hunting season. What I wanted to look up is how long it runs and also what the terms are.....when can people hunt. My reason for wanting to do this is that my parents own a 30 acre parcel in Westmoreland county and we've tried to keep the old logging road open with the hopes that one day that property will be sold. It is a beautiful property with hardwoods that run all the way back to a tiny little bit of creek (Beale's Mill Run off of the Nomini). I have always loved that property. I need to go walk it and then contact one of my buddies to come and cut up any trees that have fallen over the road so that it is clear. Who knows....maybe one day we'll sell. Who knows....maybe it will just stay as it is for years and years and years. I don't think we really know what the full fallout will be from our brave new world. There will be people very badly hurt by this but there will be opportunities for others. At the moment I'm not going to try to go too far with that.
That said, I'll give you some numbers here that I think just serve as a benchmark. I think that because sales of properties are often set in motion (with ratified contracts) say 60 days before closing, we aren't at a point where we can read too much about the future market which of course will be highly challenged.
Residential sales, 4 counties April 1 through April 22
$ sold (millions)
Median sales price
Median days on market
Really what we see is that April sales are pretty much in line with the previous years. Obviously it is a small snapshot and subject to not being broad enough to tell us much. I think though, it says that the covid impact on numbers is yet to come, which based on the 60 day period of time to get to closing makes perfect sense.
What we can see in these numbers too is that 2020 was shaping up to be the year of selling higher end properties. Look at how 34 sold in 2018 at 9.6 million, and this year, 2020, 25 sold at 8.0 million. Those are some expensive houses that sold this month.
I think what will be telling will be what the numbers look like around the beginning or middle of June. It is hard to believe there can be anywhere near the normal momentum since it is so awkward (or some more powerful word) to be out looking at real estate and having people travel to see it. We'll see how this works out but it is a significant time for us and real estate is a significant engine for the economy. I'm afraid it will be a very very different 2020 moving forward.