Photo by Max Kukurudziak on Unsplash

March came in like a lion and out like a…sloth? We’re not sure which member of the animal kingdom accurately represents the abrupt slowdown in the number of active home listings in the Los Angeles Metro Area this March. According to Realtor.com’s March Housing Trends Report, the total number of homes for sale dipped 23 percent when compared to the same time last year. 

The median listing price for the month of March was $960,045, representing a nearly 21 percent year-over-year increase, which could be attributed to a lack of diversity in the dwindling housing supply. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Metro experienced the 16th largest inventory decline in the country, ousted by frontrunner Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona, which saw active listings plummet by 42.2 percent.

On a national level, the data shows a sharp decrease in new listings during the second half of the month, but the median listing price grew 3.8 percent and the typical home sold four days faster than it did a year ago. That being said, Realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale stresses that it’s too soon to understand the full impact COVID-19 has had on the market.

“Our inventory and listing data can provide some early insight into how housing markets may be impacted by COVID-19, but the situation and reactions to it are still rapidly evolving,” she said. “The U.S. housing market had a good start to the year. Despite still-limited homes for sale, buyers were buying and builders were building. The pandemic and virus-fighting measures appear to be disrupting that initial momentum as both buyers and sellers adopt a more cautious posture.”

The inclusion of real estate agents in the updated list of essential services published by the US Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on March 28th may provide some relief for the struggling LA market. 

“Since Governor Newsom’s March 4, 2020 order incorporates this list, the order now includes residential and commercial real estate, including settlement services, as essential services in California,” reads a statement by the California Association of Realtors (CAR) published the same day. 

Its members have been given the green light to conduct business while adhering to strict health and safety regulations. Open houses are still banned and showings “should be done virtually, if at all possible,” according to CAR.

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