The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the world into chaos. With lockdowns, quarantines, and new social distancing rules in place everywhere has pretty much ruled out in-person home tours. The courts are closed, and local clerk’s offices can no longer process new deeds for properties. All you can do is search for property records online and hope that maybe you can get a virtual tour of a home if a seller took the time to make one.
Almost all industries feel the strain (including real estate), and the crisis has impacted millions of jobs while battering the economy. Lives will change when all is said and done, but for those who were either renting, paying for a mortgage, buying a home, or selling their property, the pandemic has already forced a change.
Let’s take a look at some of the real estate market trends for 2020 when everything was normal, without the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trend #1: High Sales, Low Supply
Back in February 2020, when nobody expected the coronavirus to become a full-blown global disaster, the existing home sales in the US have been the strongest they have ever been since former President George W. Bush was midway through his second term. We’re talking about five million sales nationwide, up 7.2% from last year, and the experts believe that the uptick in growth was due to increasing housing demand and low mortgage rates. Each region in the country experienced growth in February home sales compared to last year.
The West and South lead the charge at 11.5% and 8.2%, respectively, followed by the Midwest at 4% and the Northeast at 2.9%. According to real estate agents across the US, buyer traffic is robust in most of the country and red hot in Alaska, New Mexico, Idaho, Virginia, Washington, and Arizona. The problem is the number of listed houses for sale are down 10% compared to last year – great for sellers, but not so cool for buyers. If you’re house hunting, you have to work a little harder to find the home of your dreams.
Trend #2: Houses Fly off the Market Faster
In February 2019, it took around 44 days on average for homes to get plucked off the real estate market. This year, homes stayed listed for 36 days, on average, a noticeable 8-day improvement. Let’s take a quick look at how fast homes remained on the market before getting sold:
- 14 States: 31 days or less.
- 15 States: 31 – 45 days.
- 14 States: 46 – 60 days.
- 4 States: 61 – 70 days.
- 3 States: 76 – 135 days.
The coronavirus will undoubtedly affect these numbers and the current supply shortage because some sellers have already taken their homes off the market.
Trend #3: Stable Home Prices with the Possibility of Growth
The median price for a house in February 2020 was $270,100, up around 8% from last year. Everything is up across the board in all regions of the US, with the top spot going to the West having a median home price of $410,000 – more than double the average cost of houses in the Midwest at $204,000. Houses in the Northeast are the second most expensive at $295,000, followed by the South at $238,000.
Since there is already a housing shortage and some sellers are waiting for the pandemic to end before listing their property again, experts agree that the prices will remain stable throughout the year and may even be poised for more growth due to low supply.
How Will These Trends Affect Buyers and Sellers in 2020?
There are more buyers than sellers, and supply is low, so buyers would be up against a lot of competition and have to work harder to corner their dream house. However, mortgage rates are low right now, which means lower monthly payments and less interest for house hunters. If you’re in the market for a home, don’t forget to check property history public records to get more details before you commit. Sellers will have their hands full with buyers, and due to the coronavirus pandemic, maybe even less competition if others are afraid to venture out.
The Impact of the Coronavirus on Housing Markets
The US housing market was chugging along fine before the coronavirus pandemic derailed everything, and everyone is waiting to see what happens next. Early March figures show that the number of optimistic home buyers dropped from 75% to 43% due to the coronavirus, but 47% of them felt that the crisis had no impact on their plans. However, by mid-March, buyer interest decreased significantly. The pandemic had little effect on seller behavior in general, but the number of sellers who removed their listing from the market shot up from 3% to 16%.
Emily Andrews is the marketing communications specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night, she believes in compassion and defending the defenseless.
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