FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Whether you're a first-time home buyer, looking to upgrade or hoping to take advantage of low-interest rates, chances are the real estate market during the COVID-19 pandemic has piqued your interest.
"This is one of the best times in history to not only buy but sell or refinance a home," says Ali Nassirian with Golden One Credit Union.
The National Association of Realtors reported Friday that sales of previously-owned homes in the U.S. rose 24.7 percent, one of the largest increases on record.
"There's a lot of demand from home buyers," Nassirian said. "There's a lack of supply in homes. This is causing homes to sell faster."
With more people looking to buy a home and the number of available houses dropping, that's sparking bidding wars for properties across the state.
Something first-time home buyer Bertram Simpson noticed in his northwest Fresno neighborhood.
"I was surprised because on each home that's available. Offers are being made much higher than the asking price," he said. "I was expecting a negotiating process from the asking price, possibly lower, but that's not the case."
But "bids above the asking" weren't the only surprise.
In addition to social distancing and sanitizing measures to protect homeowners or agents, when it came to the pre-approval process...
"I was surprised there was no delay, hesitation or anything like that because of COVID-19, so it's been pretty smooth," Simpson said.
At 67.9 percent, the national homeowners rate is the highest it has been in 12 years.
Industry experts say if you're thinking of waiting to become one, it's important to keep in mind there's no guarantee on interest rates staying where they're at.