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Corona Virus and Real Estate
There were a few real estate pundits who didn’t feel the Corona Virus scare would have an impact on real estate. Now, in mid April, we’re seeing an almost total shutdown of the housing market, making the 3 month housing market forecast kind of bleak.
The possibility of a housing market crash isn’t strong unless the work shutdown continues for several more months. With states opening up back to work rules, the economy will start surging ahead. If Covid 19 infections fall drastically, the economy can roll again.
However, looking for a new home isn’t high on the priority list right now, and sellers aren’t listing their homes. In fact, they’ve taken the current inventory off the market. This chart shows just how strong the sales decline has been.
In this case, home sales are 16% of levels in March. This is a marked suppression, and a rebound over 60 months to 1 year should be healthy. See more on the 3 month, 6 month and year forecast. The $2 Trillion stimulus/aid package should give the startup a good boost. Buyer interest is there, but the banks may not want to lend to high risk homebuyers. Even a 700 credit rating may not matter.
The drag on sales and home prices will be felt in all major markets for the next 3 month, 6 month periods. Check out the major urban housing markets including Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, San Diego, Bay Area, Chicago, Tampa, Houston, Sacramento, Seattle, and Philadelphia.
No one has numbers or even a mathematical model that could project sales numbers. But the MLSs can see the beginning of a severe slide. Real estate stocks are suppressing the stock market forecast so we know investors feel this housing market slowdown is not good.
“The impact of COVID-19 materialized in the latter half of March. Week by week, we are seeing decreases in new listings.” said Realtor.com’s Chief Economist, Danielle Hale.
Urban Digs posted a report that in the 3rd week of March,the numbers of new listings in New York dropped 70% compared to last year along with a 276% increase in homes being taken off the market. And they posted that new contracts signed dropped by 70% YoY. CNBC reports slightly different numbers in this video.
Disinterest in real estate will only grow over the next month as the scary numbers of infections and deaths are reporting on the news and Internet each day. It’s becoming the worst national disaster in US history, and only 2 months ago, no one see ahead to the weakness of American society.
Even right now through the middle of the country, Corona Virus quarantines and self-isolation demands still have not been issued, even though the infection is soaring out of control in other states.
Those Realtors who have the nerve to show homes in person right now could be among the victims in the next few weeks.
When Will the Market Return After Corona Virus?
Real estate will come back to life in about 3 months (July). Previous estimates of the housing market return (see Massachusetts Realtor Associations president’s projection below) didn’t account for the wildfire growth in cases that might not peak until mid April. The belief that warm weather and humidity will stop it, is waning. Everyone needs to be very careful.
Hopefully with the Federal aid, everyone will be able to get through to summer financially and still alive. Most states have a tenant no eviction policy in effect for 3 months, but at the end of that period, the evictions will begin. Of course, many landlords may decide to sell their properties for a number of reasons.
If the US death toll does reach 100,000 people it could indeed create more sales transactions in 2020.
It’s a very sad and frightening event, with populations in most countries not really comprehending how dangerous and easily transmitted the virus is. Medical experts have asserted their belief that it is direct person to person transmission only, but victims say they don’t know who that could have been.
Likely victims picked the virus up at bank machines, gas station pumps, door knobs, and personal conversations. There are so many physical objects people touch without realizing it, and it infects them so readily.
What Does Real Estate Look Like in April and May?
Forecasts are for a drop of 35% in sales nationally. This is as already arranged agreements get inked.
For the months of April and May, 30% seems low when you consider cities like New York and cities in New Jersey are under total shutdown. How can transactions be recorded in that environment, even with Realtors, bankers, and lawyers working remotely? Home inspectors don’t work remotely.
A more realistic guess is a 60% drop by end of April, and the sales slump will last into July. Certainly, some business will be done in the commercial sector by then, but the uncertainty of homebuyers and inability to get mortgages will prevent buying.
Homebuyers might be desperate for homes, but their employment is not secure. Many are going to find companies reorganizing with the new reality. Some companies will overreact to the downturn and lay off more than necessary.
Demand will fall dramatically? Will house prices fall? Prices will fall, but sellers rarely have to sell in a panic anyway. Most know they’ll get their price in 2021. A severe housing shortage ensures prices can’t fall too much. The real questions are: when prices jump back up and where could you possibly find a seller during an historic pandemic?
In a report on wbur.org, Massachusetts, Kurt Thompson, president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors was quoted as saying “I think we’re going to see inventory levels decrease in the short term, the next 45 to 60 days… some agents that they’re absolutely as busy as they have been and they haven’t seen a significant turndown.”
Take a closer look at the 3 month, 6 month, and 5 year forecast for the US.
Cities in the US, where I can provide real estate marketing services include: New York, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, Miami, For Lauderdale, Orlando, Boca Raton, Wellington, Delray Beach, Kansas City, St Louis, Minneapolis, Madison, Seattle, Redmon, San Jose, Las Vegas, Henderson, Anaheim, Sacramento, Oceanside, Albuquerque, Hartford, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, St Louis, Minneapolis, Green Bay, Charlotte, Tampa, Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Malibu, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, and other cities in the states of Florida, Texas, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, Nevada, Minnesota, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, New Mexico, Louisiana, Alabama, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The 5 year and 10 year forecast is excellent. Looking forward to helping you become your market leader.
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