The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is finally hitting the housing market, according to software and market stats service provider ShowingTime. Although buyer demand and confidence remained strong at the beginning of March, ShowingTime said buyer activity has nosedived over the past week as federal, state and local governments begin enacting stricter social distancing measures.
“In recent days, showing activity has fallen off from the same period in 2019 as the impact of COVID-19 continues to grow,” the report read. “Through mid-March, year-over-year showing activity was higher nationwide compared to 2019. The current downturn is indicative of the industry’s response to COVID-19, which is changing daily.”
ShowingTime’s daily market update includes information for the majority of the United States, except for Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Rhode Island. The report also covers a limited number of Canadian provinces, including Nova Scotia, Alberta and Ontario.
The report tracks weekly showings requests on a seven-day moving average. As of March 18, Arizona (-8.3 percent), California (-5.5 percent), District of Columbia (-6.8 percent), Florida (-18.5 percent), Nevada (-23.9 percent), New Jersey (-6.0 percent), New Mexico (-6.0 percent), New York (-6.3 percent) and Tennessee (-1.1 percent) are in the negative compared to the number of showing requests made in the first week of 2020.
Although 31 states are still in the positive compared to their January 2020 showings request pace, all of them have taken week-over-week and year-over-year hits.
For example, Colorado’s request pace is still 15.2 percent above where it started at the beginning of the year. However, requests have decreased 25.2 percent from March 11 and are 17.8 percent below March 2019.
In Louisiana, the request pace is still up 3.0 percent from January but is 26.7 percent down from last week, which is when the state experienced its first deaths from COVID-19.
Lastly, in Texas, the showings request pace remained steady in early March, even as the state experienced its first COVID-19 cases in San Antonio. But, the Lone Star State has also begun to feel the impact of a nationwide effort to stop the coronavirus, with requests declining 17.4 percent since March 11.
ShowingTime will release updates daily, a shift from the company’s monthly report schedule. The company is also allowing users to continue scheduling showings in areas where it’s allowed with the suggestion they disable “allow overlapping showings.”
“We’re encouraging our team to stay current by visiting the CDC’s website and other news websites for the latest updates,” wrote ShowingTime CEO Scott Woodard in a blog post. “We’d suggest referencing any communications from your Association and MLS to verify any protocols or policies for your local market.”
“We remain committed to you during these challenging times and will continue to provide the same level of quality service that you have come to expect from ShowingTime,” Woodard added. “We hope that you and your loved ones are and will remain safe and well.”