Migrating to Mahoning County: Local housing market flourishing during pandemic

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Local realtor explains changes in the housing market, what a buyer is looking for in a home during the pandemic

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – When it comes to buying a house, a few stereotypical must-haves come to mind: an open floor concept, room to entertain and stainless-steel appliances. Those who frequent the channel HGTV are familiar with these concepts.

However, there are a couple of new requirements brought on by the pandemic: in-home offices and extended spaces, according to John McCarthy, a broker and owner at Mayo Realtors.

“Just this past Friday, we…assisted a couple relocating back to the area from Chicago, and a big reason for the home that they selected is that it had two in-home office suites,” McCarthy said. “They were notified by their employer that they’d be working from home for the foreseeable future.”

While all that space for entertaining might not be used for parties right now, it does provide space to work, whether it’s students working on their A, B, Cs or a parent finishing up those quarterly reports the boss asked for over Zoom.

“You’re seeing people expanding into the basement with rec rooms, making the dining room an office suit, so there’s a lot of adjustments being made in the market,” McCarthy said.

The market is hot, and according to McCarthy, it’s a great time to buy in the area.

“Our local market is surprisingly very healthy right now; it’s very active,” he said. “The low interest rates, which are at historic lows, are really what’s fueling the activity.”

He also said building is on the rise and that they represent four construction communities with three of the four tailored to villa home living.

“We have literally nothing available to show, everything has been sold, and our one contractor is actually digging 12 basements here in the next 45 days,” McCarthy said.

While the market’s booming and houses are going up, there have been some difficulties for realtors, which have been brought on by the pandemic.

“Selling homes has become a bit of a challenge,” McCarthy said. “Right now, with the uptick in COVID, a lot of the homes are being done and marketed virtually. We’re doing a lot of videos, we’re doing a lot of virtual tours, and that has really taken the place of the face-to-face contact that you normally would have with an open house, but our market has without any doubt, has really been stronger than anyone would have anticipated with this COVID.”

But for those willing to adapt and virtually tour a home to help keep everyone healthy, the Youngstown area is a great place to look, according to McCarthy.

“One: value. Value is a big thing. I think that we being sandwiched between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, we offer anything a big city can offer. From sports, to arts, to restaurants, to the Great Lakes, to the big-city living, our community is really situated perfectly,” he said. “We have a lot of economic growth that is also fueling activity and people are surprised when they get to the Youngstown area.”

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