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Nearly half of REALTORS®—48 percent—said homebuyer interest has decreased due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new survey from the National Association of REALTORS®. That percentage tripled from a week ago, when it stood at 16 percent.

Almost seven in 10 REALTORS®—69 percent—said there’s no change in the number of homes on the market due to the coronavirus outbreak, down from 87 percent a week ago.

“The decline in confidence related to the direction of the economy coupled with the unprecedented measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19, including major social distancing efforts nationwide, are naturally bringing an abundance of caution among buyers and sellers,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “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.”

“The impact is noticeable on many fronts, and I think we’re seeing that with our sellers. Homeowners on one end of the spectrum are very concerned, while the other end is saying, ‘Bring on the buyers,'” said Coach REALTORS® Operating Officer LP Finn in an interview with RISMedia earlier this week. “We also have the same kind of spectrum with our agents.”

NAR’s latest Economic Pulse Flash Survey, conducted March 16-17, 2020, asked members questions about how the coronavirus outbreak, including how the significant declines in stock market values and mortgage interest rates has impacted homebuyer and seller interest and behavior, as well as new commercial clients who want to lease and purchase property. With respect to the coronavirus, several highlights of the member survey include:

  • Forty-five percent of members said the stock market correction and lower mortgage rates roughly balanced out, noting no significant change in buyer behavior.
  • The majority of members, 61 percent, reported no change in sellers removing homes from the market, down from 81 percent a week ago.
  • Four in 10 members said home sellers have not changed how their home is viewed while it remains on the market. One week ago, nearly eight in 10 members, 77 percent, said the same.
  • More than half of commercial members, 54 percent, have seen a decline in leasing clients, up from 18 percent of commercial members last week.
  • Eighty-three percent of commercial buildings have changed practices, with the most common being offering more hand sanitizer, more frequent building cleanings and increasing numbers of tenants working remotely.

As the coronavirus and its impact on the industry unfold, RISMedia is providing resources and updates. Get the latest.

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