Housing market takes its first hits from coronavirus

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The reports on the initial coronavirus-related declines in the housing industry have arrived: both sale and listing volumes fell by over 50% in some states since the shelter-in-place mandate started, according to HouseCanary.

The fintech valuation provider tracked data from 41 states with the most activity, recording listing volume, new listings and median list price for single-family homes from March 13 up through April 17.

"This data shows in real time the impact that COVID-19 is having on the housing industry as we come into the spring buying season that is historically the strongest buying season for real estate." Jeremy Sicklick, co-founder and CEO of HouseCanary, said in a press release.

New listing volume from March 13 to April 17 fell compared to the prior five-week period in all 41 states. Nine states recorded drops of over 50%. Pennsylvania declined the most at 75.2% followed by 71.2% in New Jersey and 69% in New York. The average decrease was 44.4%

Similarly, the total number of listed properties going into contract decreased in 38 of the 41 states month-over-month with an overall average of -31.3% and eight states recording decreases over 50%. Contracts dropped 75.8% in Pennsylvania, 66.5% in Michigan and 64.8% in New York.

"As social distancing and coronavirus disruptions to economic activity have become more pervasive, impact to U.S. housing could be increasingly significant. Would-be homebuyers were faced with challenges when viewing or closing on properties and tracking sales became difficult as county recording offices closed," the report said.

Median prices for new listings tumbled in 37 of the 41 states, with an overall average decrease of 5%. Four states saw dips in prices over 10%, with New York logging a 21.4% decrease, New Jersey prices declined by 18.5%, followed by Arkansas at 12.1% and Connecticut at 11.8%.

The pandemic hit New York especially hard, with the state seeing some of the biggest declines in every aspect of the report. One of its priciest markets exemplified it on a micro level.

Single-family home sales in Brooklyn fell 12.7% annually in the first quarter despite gains between 6% and 7% in January and February, respectively, according to the 2020 Quarter One Report from Brooklyn MLS. Coronavirus impacts from March dragged the whole quarter down with more of the same anticipated going forward.

"I expect to see a significant decrease in the second-quarter numbers, as the majority of other business will, too," said Rich Schulhoff, CEO of Brooklyn MLS. "We might see a slight dip but look for a rebound in the third and fourth quarter, if COVID-19 has disappeared."

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Housing market Coronavirus Home prices Purchase Real estate