Despite Arizona holding the dubious honour of having one of the nation’s highest rates of new COVID-19 infections following the re-opening of its economy, Phoenix-based loan originator Steve Ineich says this spike in new cases has not affected his Arizona-specific business as of yet.
“Effects? So far none,” he says. “We can work from anywhere and with the online applications and not having to meet people physically it has not restricted business very much in the last 30 to 45 days for me, personally.”
Arizona was averaging around 3,000 new cases of coronavirus every day for the week of June 15, but Ineich takes this trend with a grain of salt.
“Scare tactics and misinformation have been going around. The majority of new cases are because testing has become more prevalent. By default, we’re finding out there were more cases than we realized.”
One effect of COVID-19 that Ineich concedes has put a crimp in his business is a new reluctance amongst potential buyers and the resultant sluggishness in the supply of properties coming to market. Much of this tightening of inventory is attributable to economic uncertainty and other knock-on effects of the recent shutdown.
“We were one of the first states to open up and we’re seeing increased cases, but it’s more lack of inventory [that poses a problem for us] than lack of production,” he explains.
“I would think COVID has a role there – people have experienced job losses, people are apprehensive about listing their homes because of COVID due to the traffic of people that would come through. Some people are thinking they will hold off on listing their property right now if they’re out of work temporarily or permanently. Even if they’re in a job right now, some would prefer to hold off on selling their property and just put it on the backburner.”
Ineich feels the supply of homes may grow even tighter if there’s another wave of COVID-19, but admits that the effects of a second lockdown are anybody’s guess.
“We can look at statistics and numbers and try to make an educated guess from there. Everyone is frustrated at this point, and it depends on your patience level and how soon you want to take a risk per se,” he says.
When regarding the big picture, however, Ineich is sanguine.
“I don’t believe this will be anything that lasts,” he says, pointing to the surging demand and record-low interest rates that have been driving mortgage activity for the past four months.
“Even if we see another wave, we’ll open again and life goes on,” Ineich says. “I don’t think it will last. I’m not a worrier, I’m a warrior.”