Newly listed homes dropped 44.1 percent in April — historically one of the busiest months for residential real estate — an indication sellers decided to wait and see how market conditions play out over the coming months, according to realtor.com®‘s April Monthly Housing Trends Report, released today. The report 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 significant decrease in new listings adds a new dimension to the nation’s inventory-starved housing market. The Northeast — the region hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic — saw the greatest decline in new listings at 59.4 percent. It was followed by declines of 49.5 percent in the Midwest, 44.1 percent in the West, and 31.4 percent in the South.
“The good momentum we saw at the start of the year has helped to somewhat insulate the housing market from the coronavirus’ negative impact on buyer and seller confidence across the U.S. 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,” said realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale.
She added, “Just how significantly the housing market is impacted by the pandemic will depend on how effective the country is at containing the virus and how the economy responds. If all goes well, we could see buyers returning to the market aggressively this summer to make up for the spring they lost.”
The combination of a decline in new listings and many sellers opting to delist their properties pushed the total number of homes for sale across the U.S. down 15.3 percent year-over-year. April’s drop in inventory amounted to a loss of 189,000 listings compared to this time last year. Within the nation’s 50 largest metros, inventory declined by 16 percent overall, and none of the 50 metros saw an increase in inventory over last year. The metros with the biggest declines in inventory were Milwaukee–Waukesha–West Allis, Wis. (-46.1 percent); Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. (-38.7 percent); and Providence–Warwick, R.I.-Mass. (-29.3 percent).
Days on market increased in April
Homes sold in 62 days on average nationally in April, four days slower than April 2019. This is likely an indication that buyers also have decided to step back to see if economic conditions will improve over the coming months.
Weekly data suggests May could see homes sitting even longer. During the week ending on April 25, homes spent an average of nine days more on the market than the same week last year. Additionally, social distancing measures and stricter mortgage lending criteria have made viewing a home and qualifying for a mortgage more difficult, which could continue to extend the amount of time a property sits on the market. Metros with the greatest increase in days on market were led by Buffalo–Cheektowaga–Niagara Falls, N.Y. (+24 days); Detroit–Warren–Dearborn, Mich. (+22 days); and Pittsburgh, Pa, (+15 days).
Typical home asking prices flatten
Nationally, the median listing price grew 0.6 percent year-over-year to $320,000. However, this was notably slower than March’s price growth rate of 3.8 percent. This trend is driven by diminished seller expectations and by a shift in the mix of homes for sale. All of the nation’s most expensive large metros have seen newly listed homes drop by 40 percent or more. Some lower-priced large metros have seen large declines in newly listed homes, but others have seen much more moderate reductions. Of the nation’s 50 largest metros, 47 saw prices decelerate compared to March. The steepest price declines were seen in Dallas-Fort Worth–Arlington, Texas (-5.7 percent); Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue, Wash. (-4.5 percent); and Chicago–Naperville–Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. (-4.4 percent).
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