Spring is usually the busiest time of year for real estate, it’s when house hunters and home sellers come out of hibernation mode and descend on the market in droves. But this year—in the era of COVID-19—is different.
The coronavirus outbreak has rocked the economy and upended many industries, including real estate. As Americans across the country are sheltering at home, many home buyers are left wondering: Should I buy a home now, or wait until quarantine measures loosen and the economy picks up again? The same goes for sellers wondering when they should list their home.
The real estate market is still active; most states have deemed the real estate industry an essential business. But the market is slowing. In March, 5.3 million existing homes were sold (down 8.5% from February), and 627,000 new homes were sold (a 15.4% decrease). And in an April survey of real estate agents by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 90% of agents reported a decline in homebuyer interest because of coronavirus fears. Also, 80% said they saw fewer houses on the market.
“We’ve seen some buyers put the brakes on their house search because they’ve lost income or because their financial situation has changed,” says Megan Aitken, a real estate agent in Middletown, Del. “We’ve also seen several sellers choosing to post-pone putting their house on the market because they don’t want to risk increased exposure to the coronavirus.”
The soaring jobless rate is also giving sellers pause: “A major concern of sellers right now is the risk of [buyers] losing their income before closing,” says Alicia Stoughton, a real estate agent and designer in Cincinnati.
But with mortgage rates still sitting at record lows—the average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.3% in mid-April, Freddie Mac reported—buyers have the incentive to stay in the market. (Low rates have also sparked a rush to refinance.
Learn more about the things that you should be doing it to get your home ready for sale this summer, or the search for homes for sale in the Austin area, contact me today by calling (512) 944-7378 or click here to connect with me online.