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 Kristen Gulson, CEO of Realtor Association of the Sioux Empire, Inc. (RASE). RASE the largest MLS in South Dakota, covering Sioux Falls and its suburbs. RASE is a non-profit association and exists to enhance its members’ business environment and professionalism. RASE provides services to 850 REALTOR® members and 112 Affiliate members engaged in residential sales and leasing, commercial sales and leasing, appraisal, consultation, home inspection, mortgage lending, and more. Here’s what Kristen had to say:
How has COVID-19 affected the real estate market in South Dakota? Is it as overheated there as it is in many other U.S. markets?
The real estate market in South Dakota continues to be strong through the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, for the 12-month period spanning September 2019 through August 2020, Pending Sales in the Sioux Falls region were up 16.8% overall. Inventory levels were down 34.6% which is causing prices to increase and in many cases, leading to multiple-offer situations.
How have your members adapted to working during the pandemic?
Our members were quick to adapt, utilizing technology in new and innovative ways. Virtual showings and open houses quickly became the norm. In addition to going virtual, they increased safety measures to include touchless showings.
Have you made changes post-March in the way you run your MLS that you expect to be permanent?
Not really. We are a small association with 875 REALTOR® members and thankfully we simply haven’t had the number of COVID cases that the rest of the country has experienced. So, while we did temporarily transition to virtual meetings, we continued to staff our office and provide the same level of support to our members that we always have.
What activity have you done for fun during the pandemic that has surprised you?
I took up kayaking. The pandemic “forced” us all to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Sioux Falls has a great kayaking community that I got involved with and discovered a new activity that I love!
Where is the first place you’d like to visit once we are allowed to travel again?
Washington, DC. I lived there for 10-years and my favorite NAR event is the Mid-Year Legislative Meetings. I’m hopeful that by 2021 we will have a vaccine available and we’ll all get back to shaking hands, or better yet, hugging our friends and colleagues!