Guam realtors brace for ‘a new normal’

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Although realtors have been allowed to operate for a week now, real estate transactions are not expected to “normalize” any time soon.

Clare Delgado, the president of the Guam Association of Realtors (GAR), said realtors expect to see a decline in residential sales compared to the pre-coronavirus period.

“New sales numbers would probably not be realized until at least 2-3 months since we have gotten back to work. On Guam, a house sale typically takes 60 days to close and this doesn’t account for looking at properties, negotiating a price and writing up the purchase agreement. That and we had an inventory shortage prior to COVID-19 hitting our island. The way we do business probably will never be the same,” Delgado said in an interview with PNC.

Realtor Anthony Godwin of Today’s Realty said the island’s real estate industry was really hit hard by the coronavirus.

“Real estate agents have not been able to physically show properties to tenants or buyers since March 20th when the stay-at-home order was issued. Only the continuing management of properties had taken place. This has put most realtors at a standstill. From March 20th to May 9th, sales and rental activities slowed significantly,” Godwin said.

Delgado added: “Because our industry was halted, nothing moved. Home sales that were under contract were in limbo because the government was closed and we could not complete the sale by recording title transfers. In the same regard, we weren’t allowed to show properties so buyers/tenants were not allowed to view properties as well. We were fortunate that many clients were understanding given the current situation and the need to be safe.”

Godwin, whose company was one of the first to reopen and start operations last week, said the industry will have a better understanding of the new market realities after the next several weeks.

But Godwin said it’s definitely not going to be business as usual.

“We do believe we are heading to a new ‘normal’ when this is all over. This will be better defined in the coming months as the components of Guam’s overall market returns,” he said.

Delgado agrees that it may take time for the market to get back to where it was before.

“However, things may change depending on how the virus runs its course. We pray for the best,” she said.

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