Welcome to another edition of “Ask the MLS.” Here, we talk to people running innovative MLSs around the country and ask them questions about their markets, their members, and what keeps them up at night.
Today’s post features John Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer of Georgia MLS. Georgia MLS was established in 1962 and serves real estate professionals in the Georgia area. Here’s what John had to say:
1. What’s the status of your market right now?
While year over year statistics for new listings and sales still lag behind 2019, there are signs that the Georgia MLS marketplace is energized and buyers and sellers remain actively engaged in the housing market. For 6 consecutive weeks, pending sales across the entire Georgia MLS membership outpaced the week over week numbers of 2019. During that timeframe, Georgia MLS also recorded the highest number of Pending Sales aggregated in a single week for the Atlanta Market Statistical Area (MSA). Preliminary numbers for the month of June show a significant increase of 19% in sales from May’s previous numbers.
Factors driving the Georgia MLS marketplace include continued levels of low inventory supply causing buyers to act quickly on making offers, pent up demand triggered by the uncertainty of how the virus was going to affect buyers and sellers, as well as incredibly low interest rates.
2. How has COVID-19 affected the Georgia real estate market? If the answer is ‘negatively’, do you expect it to rebound?
As we began the new year, there was great market momentum heading into the selling season. All signs were pointing to another record-breaking year for Georgia MLS members. The transactional pipeline in March was very strong, but once the shelter in place orders took effect there was concern that the market place would stall, or even worse shut down.
Starting mid-April we began to see a decline in the metrics, but what came out of the uncertainty was a remarkable resilience of our Brokers and Agents to persevere through an unprecedented time and adapt to new methods to serve their clients. This pivot, combined with quick executive action from the Governor, the Georgia Real Estate Commission, and the Georgia Association of REALTORS® not only allowed our members to complete transactions that were in process, but also gave confidence to buyer and sellers that real estate transactions were still taking place, just in a more “virtual process”. The results of these actions allowed Georgia to maintain an active real estate market and not be as affected as other states in the nation.
3. What lessons did you learn about management and communication during the pandemic, and will any of the changes you went through as a company become permanent?
The biggest lesson from this pandemic is that you cannot overcommunicate enough to the membership, vendor partners, and most importantly to the staff. As the virus began spreading, and the information was changing rapidly, there were many factors to consider. Operations had to pivot to accommodate remote work environments. New policy changes had to be considered and applied. Existing policies needed to be modified. Platform enhancements needed to be coordinated with our vendor partners and implemented quickly to have immediate effect. Without a coordinated communication process, these implementations could not have been executed efficiently and would not have had the meaningful impact our members needed during this time. As this unprecedented time continues to evolve, Georgia MLS will continue to refine our internal and external communications process, so that we can continue to keep our members informed and bring confidence to the market place.
4. What was the best thing you did/watched/read/cooked during the time at home?
It’s amazing what the lack of live sports will do to free up some spare time! The best part of having some newly found downtime is reconnecting virtually with some of my musician friends, and putting the guitar through its paces. I’m digging it…. The wife and dogs not so much!