Home Sales Battered In March

Pending home sales fell precipitously in March after the coronavirus pandemic fully took hold in the middle of the month, a new analysis released Wednesday by the National of Association of Realtors shows.

The Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on contract signings, decreased 20.8 percent to 88.2 in March. Year over year, contract signings declined 16.3 percent.

“The housing market is temporarily grappling with the coronavirus-induced shutdown, which pulled down new listings and new contracts,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said. “As consumers become more accustomed to social distancing protocols, and with the economy slowly and safely reopening, listings and buying activity will resume, especially given the record low mortgage rates.”

All four regions experienced declines:

  • Northeast: Down 14.5 percent in March and 11 percent lower than March 2019.
  • Midwest: Down 22 percent in March and 12.4 percent than March 2019.
  • South: Down 19.5 percent in March and 17.8 percent from a year ago.
  • West: Down 26.8 percent in March and 21.5 percent from a year ago.

“The usual Spring buying season will be missed, however, so a bounce-back later in the year will be insufficient to make up for the loss of sales in the second quarter,” he said. “Overall, home sales are projected to have declined 14 percent for the year.”