Interesting times indeed. I think the chart and data below will reasonably convey what is happening with the market. We are in the early stages of the Stay at Home order but here is what I can discern so far. The number of homes for sale remain low, especially for this time of year. The only year in the past 4 where inventory was this low was 2018. The Median Price appears to have been impacted slightly but that may be because the higher inventory is less active, which is to be expected in a time like this. We will need a couple more weeks to see how that develops.
The next chart is courtesy of Megan Aller from First American Title. It has the showing volume by week since the beginning of the new year. I don’t think you need any analysis of it, it’s pretty self-explanatory.
As far as getting a feel for the temperature of the market via things that don’t show up on charts and graphs, I can share what I am hearing from sellers with homes on the market and buyers looking to buy.
Sellers seem to be in a stable frame of mind.
For those not needing to sell immediately, they are okay with staying on the market and letting people view the house online while limiting access. If someone wants to make an offer then come see the house to verify it is what they had expected, they are happy to work that way. They see this situation as temporary and when things open back up, they are confident the demand will still be good and the inventory will be low.
For those more motivated to sell, they are still granting access before a buyer makes an offer, but do not feel pressure to offer noticeable discounts based on the fact there is very little inventory. They too are optimistic that this will be a short-term situation.
Here is what I am seeing with buyers
Those needing a place in the near term are actively looking with all virtual tools they can, and should they find the place they believe is right for them, they are moving forward with the purchase. Negotiation terms vary by individual but with the limited inventory and seller’s confidence still reasonably stable in most cases, there is no sign yet of sellers taking huge discounts. I toured some buyers through about 10 homes just over a week ago and all their top choices have since gone under contract. Even new ones that have hit the market since then are going fast.
In summary, I’m sure activity will be very low over the next three weeks but what does take place will produce closings. The title companies, inspectors and appraisers are still working, of course with changes in practices, but transactions are still happening, lenders are still lending, and closings are still taking place. In fact, now that we have an executive order that allows for remote notarization and a provision for appraisers to forego interior inspections on appraisals there's even more safety in transactions. Both out state and national associations have been hard at work to get this done and it is nice to see it work out.
I don't think March's numbers will tell the entire story of how this will impact the market and by the time we see April's data, we could be transitioning out of some of strictest orders. I do know that good things are being done with foreclosure prevention and forbearance programs that should significantly temper the impact to home values, and even more important, help keep people in their homes and add stability to their lives.
I do have a great deal of information on much of the legislation/ orders so feel free to reach out if I can help connect you with any sources.