US Home Prices Holding Steady So Far

A trio of housing reports released Thursday found that home prices aren’t dropping amid the ever-changing housing market brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, though sales are down.

While price increases have slowed, Zillow found that the median list price of homes for sale in the United States was 0.4 percent higher than a year ago as of April 19. List prices were up about 7 percent year over year at this time in 2019.

Additionally, the National Association of Realtors says 74 percent of members surveyed say their clients haven’t reduced listing prices to attract buyers. And he Census Bureau also announced Wednesday that new home sales tumbled 15.4 percent in March from February – and 9.5 percent below March 2019. The median sales price was $321,400 and the average sales price was $375,300.

“Real estate transactions and new listings have declined abruptly amidst the coronavirus pandemic, but we haven’t yet seen prices significantly affected,” said Jeff Tucker, economist at Zillow. “Buyers have pulled back in the face of new economic uncertainty but sellers are also shying away from listing their homes in a market that was already starved for inventory, so it is possible that home prices remain insulated, at least in the short-term. Like a canoe being carried by two people who drop both ends simultaneously, the market slowdown may not tip clearly in favor of buyers or sellers.”

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “The housing market faced an inventory shortage before the pandemic. Given that there are even fewer new listings during the pandemic, home sellers are taking a calm approach and appear unwilling to lower prices to attract buyers during the temporary disruptions to the economy.”

The Zillow report also found:

  • Pending home sales slowed dramatically in the second half of March but may have turned a corner in recent days and are up 6.2 percent week-over-week.
  • New listings continued to fall in April, down 37.7 percent year over year in the week ending April 19.
  • The typical home in the U.S. was worth $248,857 in March, up 4.1 percent year-over-year.

NAR’s survey conducted this week also found that 27 percent said they were able to complete nearly all aspects of transactions while respecting social distancing. The most common technology tools used to communicate with clients are e-signatures, social media, messaging apps and virtual tours.