The number of new real estate listings fell dramatically in April as the coronavirus largely shut down the U.S. economy, according to a new report from realtor.com
The report found that despite April historically being one of the busiest months of the year for real estate, new listings actually fell 44.1 percent year-over-year. The Northeast saw the biggest drop-off in listings, with a year-over-year drop of 59.4 percent, followed by the Midwest at 49.5 percent.
The report notes that it “offers the first full month of data showing the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on residential real estate throughout the U.S.” The pandemic continues to rage across the U.S., though a number of states have gradually begun reopening aspects of their economies.
The report also reveals that U.S. homes sold in an average of 62 days last month — an increase of four days compared to April 2019. Days-on-market could stretch even longer in May, the report suggests.
Moreover, the total number of U.S. homes for sale in April fell 15.3 percent as sellers opted to delist their properties. And the median listing price flattened, rising just “0.6 percent year-over-year to $320,000,” according to the report.
Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said in the report that a strong beginning of the year had “helped to somewhat insulate the housing market from the coronavirus’ negative impact on buyer and seller confidence across the U.S.” However, there could still be tough times ahead.
“Although we saw sharp drops in new listings, an increase in the time it takes to sell a home and a flattening of prices in April, May is likely to see some of these metrics worsen,” Hale added.
However, if the virus is contained, Hale also believes “we could see buyers returning to the market aggressively this summer to make up for the spring they lost.”
Among specific metro areas, the report shows that the Milwaukee region saw an 80 percent drop in new listings, beating out any other area. The Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Buffalo, New York, metros rounded out the top five areas for drop-offs in new listings.
By contrast, new listings only fell 15 percent in the Virginia Beach area, making it the metro that saw the smallest drop-off among those included in the report.
The realtor.com report comes just days after online brokerage Redfin also reported that new listings are not currently keeping up with demand. That report also found that after a dramatic plunge, homebuying demand had recovered to within 15 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
A month ago, real estate consultant Mike DelPrete additionally found that new listings were falling across the world during the pandemic.
High demand and low inventory is typically a recipe for rising prices, though new Zillow numbers suggest that home prices may dip slightly this year before recovering in 2021. But whatever happens, a number of real estate professionals have predicted a surge of activity when the coronavirus outbreak is finally contained.