Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) conducted two flash surveys of its members just a week apart to measure the growing impact of coronavirus on the US real estate market. Of the more than 3,000 Realtors that responded to the most recent survey, 56 percent work in local markets with either confirmed or presumptive positive cases of the coronavirus. 

The first survey, which was conducted from March 9-10, found that only 16 percent of Realtors had seen a decrease in buyer interest due to coronavirus fears. That number jumped to 48 percent only a week later (March 16-17) in areas affected by the outbreak.

Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates have also been fluctuating wildly over the last two weeks, ascending from an average of 3.29% to 3.65% as of March 19. According to NAR, the majority of sellers opted not to make changes to their listings. However, there was a five percent week-over-week increase in the number of sellers who decided to remove their homes from the market and refinance. Among home sellers in areas with confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases, 11 percent of sellers chose to pull their listings and refinance.

Although confidence among home buyers and sellers has clearly been shaken, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun believes the US market will eventually bounce back. “With fewer listings in what’s already a housing shortage environment, home prices are likely to hold steady. The temporary softening of the real estate market will likely be followed by a strong rebound once the economic ‘quarantine’ is lifted, and it’s critical that supply is sufficient to meet pent-up demand,” said Yun.

While in-person open houses are being called off across the country, would-be homebuyers will have plenty of time on their hands to browse online listings, take virtual home tours and get their financial ducks in a row.

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