Real estate — commercial and residential — is picking up steam, despite pandemic | Business

COVID-19 has managed to devastate virtually every industry, company and organization in Orange County. Most are still struggling to stay afloat. Some are still waiting for the green light to open again. Real estate – commercial and residential – has hit the first pandemic and is now seeing big gains and a thriving market. Orange County, and Hillsborough in particular, are no exception to this trend.

Emilee Collins, a commercial and housing broker at Pickett Sprouse Commercial Real Estate (owned by West & Woodall Real Estate), can speak of booms on both sides of the real estate spectrum, but prefers commercial real estate.

“Hillsborough is not burdened by a large number of office complexes or by retail. It’s good and bad. We don’t have high vacancy rates and you don’t see a lot of empty storefronts like you might if we had a couple of malls. ”

This has helped keep Orange County largely from saddling up with the empty big box stores that larger cities like Raleigh and Durham struggle with when the market slows.

“We have flexible space storage for businesses that require employees to be present,” said Collins. “Hillsborough commercial property has had a strong performance in 2020 and we believe 2021 will continue to be very positive.”

Collins said the commercial side had been strong enough for developers to keep adding to the region’s inventory to meet demand for office and warehouse space.

“At the moment we are working on a new building at 360 Executive Ct. in the meadows. The building is 16,000 square feet and we’re dividing it into roughly 2,100 square feet units. We found that there was a good market for these smaller units, ”she said.

Houses fly off the market on the living side. “Orange County is amazing,” said Collins. “I mean, the average days in the market for 2020 was 36. And that takes into account the million dollar homes. These are usually on the market for more than nine months. That would be normal. Now you have a very few days in the market and often it only takes a day, two, three, four days to close a deal. “

For January 2021, new registrations in Orange County increased by 8.2 percent compared to January 2020. Closed sales rose a staggering 48.2 percent in January 2021 over the same period last year. The median sales price for January 2021 also increased by 8 percent compared to the previous year. The Orange County indicators exceeded the percentage growth for the entire triangle area.

One of the reasons Orange County’s home sales are quick is the limited inventory of homes for sale in the area. Several single family homes, including the huge Collins Ridge development in Hillsborough, will soon deliver a much-needed injection of new homes. But Collins said something else has to happen before Orange County can realize its new home potential.

“Internet access is terrible in many of our northern rural areas and central Orange County,” said Collins. “It’s just awful. I believe that once the internet problem is resolved, you will see another form of housing boom. “

Commercial and residential real estate has not remained unaffected by the pandemic. Nationwide, standstills have pushed back the production of building materials and drastically delayed availability. Even as construction projects gained momentum, the lack of supply and labor weighed on the industry and often increased costs.

“It could take a little longer to get the materials,” said Collins. “You have a workforce that may need to be quarantined so you may be a week or a week ago. It just makes the process longer. And when you talk about renting tenants in 90 days. You know this is the goal, but in reality it could be 110 days. This is money. That is money that the landlord does not get to rent. It is money that the company cannot generate. “