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Georgia and COVID 19: What You Need to Know Now

Jun 17, 2020

17 Jun

Georgia and COVID 19: What You Need to Know Now

by Harold Hudson

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on economies worldwide. The Georgia real estate market is no exception. The ongoing state of emergency and the extended lockdowns are putting a damper on Georgia real estate transactions.

The Georgia economy relies heavily on service sectors that have been particularly hard hit. The hospitality, retail and tourism markets have all been affected by fears about the virus. Commercial offices are in a state of flux, and tenants are scrambling to renegotiate leases.

Capital markets are experiencing a slowdown, Both private and commercial properties experienced reduced transactions in March. Analysts predict that April will bring more of the same. Developers are projecting annual revenue losses as high as 50 percent.

Fortunately, the Georgia government and the private sector have implemented a variety of recovery measures. Large banks are offering a grace period on hospitality-related loans. The Georgia government has been subsidizing income and offering extensions on VAT payments. Grants are being issued to help those who have lost their jobs.

A plan to reopen public and semi-public spaces has been implemented and is in effect.  If the current epidemiological balance is maintained, experts believe that Georgia will be on the road to recovery.

Cushman & Wakefield surveyed 40,000 of their corporate clients. Fifty percent believe that they will be making use of flexible workplaces. Employers expect to replace traditional office space with diverse work locations they can increase or decrease as needed. People will work face-to-face with others some of the time instead of all of the time.

COVID-19 has created mild fluctuations in the Savannah real estate market. Nonetheless, plenty of Georgia real estate transactions are taking place as home buyers sign mortgage loan documents.

Since February, “homes listed as active contingent or homes under contract have decreased by about 21.5%, new listings decreased 11% and homes sold dropped by 3.4%.”

Nevertheless, George Myers, principal of Mia Madison Properties and president of Savannah Multi-List Corp., says, “it’s still a really hot market.”

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