CHICAGO – The spring housing market will be slower than normal due to stay-at-home orders by many states and municipalities to control the outbreak of COVID-19 – but the majority of real estate professionals see the slowdown as temporary. They’re optimistic that a turnaround will occur once social distancing measures are lifted.
Almost six of 10 Realtors® recently surveyed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that their buyers were delaying home purchases for a couple of months. It was similar on the seller side: 57% of real estate professionals said sellers were delaying home sales.
NAR’s Economic Pulse Flash Survey was conducted on April 5-6.
“Home sales will decline this spring season because of unique economic and social consequences resulting from the coronavirus outbreak – but much of the activity looks to reappear later in the year,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
Yun also predicts that home prices will remain stable “because of a pandemic-induced reduction in inventory coupled with less immediate concerns over foreclosures.”
Mortgage servicers also say they’re unconcerned about a flood of foreclosures hampering the housing market thanks to swift actions taken to offer forbearance options to out-of-work homeowners.
So far, most Realtors reported stable prices in their markets, with three out of four (72%) saying their sellers haven’t reduced asking prices to attract buyers. However, a majority of homebuyers (63%) expect prices to decline eventually, perhaps hoping that the temporary decline in buyers interest will translate into a buyer’s market after steps to fight the pandemic have been rescinded.
The survey also asked about monthly rental payments from tenants. Nearly half of the property managers surveyed (46%) said they’ve been able to accommodate tenants who cannot pay rent, and 27% of individual landlords reported the same.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a provision for eviction prevention, as well as small-business loans and grants for assisting the rental market.
Real estate professionals are finding ways to work virtually to complete some transactions. The most common tools leveraged according to the survey are e-signatures, social media, messaging apps and virtual tours.
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