Almost six in 10 real estate agents say home sellers and buyers are stepping back from the housing market because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s what the National Association of Realtors finds in a new survey of its members seeking to gauge the current nationwide housing market.
While most sales agents are optimistic that home sales will bounce back, for the time being they are seeing a substantial drop in business.
“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,” Realtors’ Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in the report. “Home prices will remain stable because of a pandemic-induced reduction in inventory coupled with less immediate concerns over foreclosures.”
Ninety percent of Realtors surveyed said they have seen a drop in buyer interest because of the pandemic. And 80% of them are reporting a decline in the number of homes listed for sale.
So far, almost three-fourths of the agents surveyed said that sellers had not cut their asking prices to move properties.
But more than six in 10 Realtors say that homebuyers are expecting a drop in home prices and less competition for properties.
The median price of homes for sale in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was down 3% in March from a year ago — one of the first such declines seen in a major market, according to Realtor.com
And at the end of March, pending single-family home sales in the area were off 10% from this time last year.
North Texas had record first-quarter home sales by real estate agents. But most of the increase came early in the year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Some of the largest residential sales firms have cut their workforce because of the coronavirus epidemic.
Seattle-based Redfin is furloughing four in 10 of its nationwide agents.
And last month Compass Real Estate reduced its nationwide staff by more than 10%.
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