The trade organization will no longer hold events this month in San Diego and Los Angeles. The cancellations come as the death toll rises and as financial markets continue to sputter.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced Thursday that it had canceled two upcoming California conferences in response to concerns about the coronavirus, adding to the ever-growing chaos the illness is wreaking across the world.

In a statement, NAR said it would no longer hold the Joint AE Institute, which had been scheduled for next week in San Diego, as well as the Realtor Broker Summit, which was slated to begin at the end of this month in Los Angeles. The statement explains that the two events were nixed “in response to coronavirus concerns, particularly those emerging on the West Coast of the United States.”

The statement also notes that on Wednesday California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency following the first coronavirus death in the state.

NAR is currently considering options for rescheduling the conferences, the statement adds.

The decision to cancel the two California conferences comes just two days after Realogy announced that, if possible, it would turn three upcoming events into virtual meetings. The events had been scheduled for later this month in Tennessee, Texas and Florida.

Realogy also asked its employees to avoid international and non-essential travel.

A woman in a medical mask at Grand Central Station in New York on Thursday. Credit: David Dee Delgado and Getty Images

A number of other real estate firms have issued various travel advisories as well, and urged employees to take precautions such as washing their hands and staying away from offices if they feel sick.

Inman has also postponed its own Disconnect event, which had been scheduled for later this month in Palm Springs, California.

Nevertheless, the coronavirus continues to spread.

In the U.S., the death toll rose to 12 Thursday after a Washington woman in her 90s succumbed to the illness. Washington State alone has documented at least 70 cases of coronavirus, with officials saying at least 210 people have been infected across the entire U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, coronavirus has so far been detected in more than 80 countries.

The World Health Organization said Thursday that there have so far been 95,333 confirmed cases, with nearly 3,300 deaths.

Countries with confirmed cases of coronavirus. Credit: The Centers for Disease Control

In addition to causing deaths, illness and disruption, the coronavirus is also creating chaos in the economy. Last week, the stock market plummeted multiple times, and this week the Fed carried out an emergency interest rate cut in an effort to stave off economic struggles. The rate cut was the biggest since 2008, prior to the recession.

Nevertheless, stocks fell again Thursday, with the Dow closing down 3.58 percent, the NASDAQ Composite down 3.10 percent and the S&P 500 down 3.39 percent.

Real estate stocks are among those that have suffered in day-after-day declines. Realogy’s stock price has fallen from more than $13 per share last week to $8.35 on Thursday. Zillow is down from more than $65 nearly two weeks ago to just under $52 per share Thursday. And RE/MAX is down from $40.57 on Feb. 20 to just above $30 per share Thursday.

The impacts from the virus are also likely to linger as well, including in the real estate industry.

A number of real estate companies have said they are still considering changing plans for upcoming gatherings, for example. And NAR itself said in its statement Thursday that it will also “announce decisions about additional upcoming events as those determinations are made in the coming weeks.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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