Industry trend reports are starting to show the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. housing market.
Realtor.com’s march Housing Trends Report for March shows that inventory softened, the number of newly listed properties declined, and prices did not increase as fast in the second half of the month – though there was a strong start to the month.
That strong start meant the total number of homes for sale declined 15.7 percent from March 2019. The numbers declined to 15.2 percent for the weeks ending March 21 and March 28.
In the weeks ending March 21 and March 28, the volume of newly listed properties decreased by 13.1 percent and 34 percent from last year. During the last two weeks of March, the median U.S. listing price increased by 3.3 percent and 2.5 percent year-over-year respectively, the slowest pace of growth this year, and the slowest since realtor.com began tracking in 2013.
“Our inventory and listing data can provide some early insight into how housing markets may be impacted by COVID-19, but the situation and reactions to it are still rapidly evolving,” realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said. “The U.S. housing market had a good start to the year. Despite still-limited homes for sale, buyers were buying and builders were building. The pandemic and virus-fighting measures appear to be disrupting that initial momentum as both buyers and sellers adopt a more cautious posture.”
Last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage applications – while up overall – had begun to plummet in coronavirus hotspots. The next weekly report is due out Wednesday.