When I look back on my last blog post in February, all I can say is wow, things can change quickly! In February, Llano was bursting with activity on the local scene, with many events scheduled. Tourism was at a high, and traffic counts were up. In early March, when the Coronavirus first began to be a threat in other parts of the country, the Llano Earth Arts Fest event was well attended with visitors and vendor booths. Immediately after that, Coronavirus numbers began to creep up, and lockdowns in Texas started. All events were canceled or postponed to a later date. Llano County only had 3 cases early on, and the number of COVID-19 cases has remained relatively low.
Llano had about six weeks of stringent lockdown, where most businesses were closed to outside visitors. Landmasters continued to meet clients on an appointment-only basis, and properties under contract closed as scheduled. In May, we opened and resumed business hours as usual, but have been taking precautions to protect our clients as well as our agents.
As for the real estate market, the last several months have seen a dramatic increase in interest in Llano County properties, with more out-of-town buyers than ever before. Days on the market have decreased for residential properties in the City of Llano and Kingsland, and demand is high, especially for affordable homes in the $100K to $200K price range. The market is also strong for Lake LBJ and Lake Buchanan homes, where multiple offers are often seen on desirable properties. Ranches are also seeing increased inactivity. During normal years, August has always been a slow month for us, but not this year.
We believe that the pandemic has caused a shift in more buyers looking to relocate to rural areas. More workers are able to work from home, and this trend looks to continue. We are also seeing many buyers looking for a weekend or vacation home, away from the city, a place to shelter in if necessary. Strong demand, coupled with record-low interest rates, means that homes are “flying off the shelf”. Having a good buyer’s agent on your side that knows the local market is more important than ever!
We all want the pandemic to go away, but it doesn’t look like that will happen soon. In Llano, it almost feels normal again, although people are still required to wear masks when entering a retail store or restaurant. Most of our restaurants are still open, although at reduced capacity. We continue to frequent our favorite, Badu 1891, and they have been busy. Weekends are seeing more tourist traffic. We expect a good fall season when cooler weather usually brings more visitors.
There is still uncertainty, of course, as to how long this pandemic will last. We know Llano is lucky, as the coronavirus did not hit us very hard. Landmasters has been helping clients with their real estate needs since 1975 and has survived many market ups and downs. Give us a call – we will help you find what you are looking for in this unique and unprecedented time.