HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Huntsville Area Association of Realtors has been working with Huntsville City Council members to brace for potential housing impacts because of COVID-19.
With evictions potentially on the horizon, many tenants and even property owners are expected to have issues paying their bills.
HAAR says having abandoned or vacant houses in North Alabama is a larger concern because of the already low housing inventory. The potential for an increased number of vacant properties could have a major impact on home values.
“If someone doesn’t want a property, there’s always some investor out there that wants to go in and renovate that property. Do something with it. Make it into a home for someone else,” said Tim Brown, the Vice President of the Huntsville Area Association of Realtors.
New builds are likely to face delays because production costs are rising. Lumber mills are reporting their estimates per new house have doubled because of the virus.
In short, there’s a lot of issues facing the housing market.
While waiting is one thing to do, the realtors decided to essentially offer several work sessions with council members to make sure they have the tools at their disposal to limit the impact of vacant houses on Huntsville.
“We are giving them a playbook on how to avoid these situations and also the effects it’s going to have on particular areas,” said Brown.
The sessions include detailed information about existing home values, updating code enforcement, the importance of quickly transferring abandoned properties, the list goes on.
HAAR hopes the problem doesn’t present itself, but if it does, they have also been lobbying at the national level to find better protections for property managers.
“We want to help them to not go into foreclosure. To not have bad strikes against their credit because their tenants can’t pay and they are dependent on that,” said Brown.
HAAR says they often find that military families move to North Alabama and find themselves in rentals before moving into an actual home.
In HAAR’s eyes, if older, vacant homes can be flipped into high-quality rentals, it’s a win-win for everyone.