NAR’s survey found the 3 out of 4 Realtors say their sellers see the pandemic as a temporary problem that will pass – and they’re not panicking and discounting asking prices.

WASHINGTON – Looking for a good deal on a new home? Keep looking.

According to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors®, nearly 3 in 4 Realtors currently working with sellers this week – 74% – reported their clients haven’t reduced listing prices to attract buyers. This suggests interested home sellers are remaining calm and avoiding panic selling during the uncertain economic environment brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the organization.

“Consumers are mostly abiding by stay-in-shelter directives, and it appears the current decline in buyer and seller activity is only temporary, with a majority ready to hit the market in a couple of months,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The housing market faced an inventory shortage before the pandemic. Given that there are even fewer new listings during the pandemic, home sellers are taking a calm approach and appear unwilling to lower prices to attract buyers during the temporary disruptions to the economy.”

NAR’s latest Economic Pulse Flash Survey – conducted April 19-20, 2020 – asked members how the coronavirus outbreak has impacted the residential and commercial real estate markets. Several highlights include:

  • More than a quarter of Realtors – 27% – said they were able to complete nearly all aspects of transactions while respecting social distancing. The most common technology tools used to communicate with clients are e-signatures, social media, messaging apps and virtual tours.
  • Residential tenants are facing rent payment issues, but many delayed payment requests are being accommodated. Forty-seven percent of property managers reported being able to accommodate tenants who cannot pay rent, a 6% increase from a week ago. Nearly a quarter of individual landlords – 24% – said the same, unchanged from last week.
  • Existing-home sales fell in March following a February that saw significant nationwide gains, according to the National Association of Realtors. Each of the four major regions reported a dip in sales, with the West suffering the largest decrease.

Total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 8.5% from February to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million in March. Despite the decline, overall sales increased year-over-year for the ninth straight month, up 0.8% from a year ago (5.23 million in March 2019).

“Unfortunately, we knew home sales would wane in March due to the coronavirus outbreak,” said Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “More temporary interruptions to home sales should be expected in the next couple of months, though home prices will still likely rise.”

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