PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdowns around the country played havoc with the real estate industry last year just like most other businesses. But 2021 is looking bright, according to Maria Quattrone, CEO and founder of Maria Quattrone and Associates at RE/MAX @ Home in Center City, Philadelphia.

“2021 opened the year of real estate like a lion,” Quattrone said. “We have been busy since December 20, and usually that’s the week of Christmas. People usually aren’t focusing on housing. But we have seen houses that have been on the market for several months now, starting to sell.”

At the beginning of 2020, real estate was considered nonessential for about ten weeks. Quattrone said the spring market was delayed to the end of May, early June. Then there was a lot of activity until about October, which eventually picked up again.

“There’s a couple of things with that: one the election is over, buyers have confidence. So the people who were sitting on the fence are now getting off the fence. We think interest rates will stay low. They’re so low that if you were thinking about buying, it makes zero sense to not pull the trigger so that’s creating demand,” she said.

Quattrone said people want to feel at home in their home now more than ever. She says people realized they needed more space, whether it be a bigger yard, a dedicated home office, a place to work out, or a place where the kids can do virtual schooling.

Her advice to sellers right now: don’t wait until the spring to sell.

“If they want to sell they should come on the market now because the less inventory gives your house the better opportunity to be sold faster. Faster means more money in your pocket,” she said.

Quattrone predicted the real estate market will keep “roaring,” since the year came in as a lion. She said 2020 probably allowed many buyers to save.

“People that are employed have a little bit more money in their pockets because they didn’t have the places to go; the concerts, the sporting events, the charity events, the traveling, so there’s a lot of money that’s been saved so people have down payments for houses,” she said.

“People that own their home have a lot of equity in their home, and they’re able to take that equity and put that into their next home. So I think that there is money that is there because it’s not being spent anywhere besides the grocery stores and”

You can hear the full interview with Quattrone, above, on the KYW Newsradio original podcast, “KYW In Depth.” Subscribe on the RADIO.COM app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.