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April is typically prime time for real estate—the spring market is in full swing and buyers and sellers are out in full force. Not this year. 

Due to the spread of COVID-19, real estate practitioners have had to adjust how they do business to continue helping buyers and sellers who are transacting during this changed market. But how much has actually changed? The new April Monthly Housing Trends Report from® sheds some light on the impact the pandemic has had on today’s housing market. The results show that many sellers have decided to wait out the crisis.

The biggest indicator the markets have shifted? Listings are down, and by a significant amount—April saw a 44.1 percent decline in newly listed homes. Local trends also reflect the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus. The Northeast, for example, which currently has some of the strictest coronavirus guidelines in place, also experienced the biggest drop in new listings by region, at 59.4 percent. Next up is the Midwest, which had a 49.5 percent decline, followed by the West (a 44.1 percent drop) and the South with a 31.4 percent decrease. 

The Milwaukee and Detroit Metro areas saw the biggest declines in new home listings—90 percent and 75.3 percent YoY, respectively. Restrictions in place at the local level may be putting a pause on the markets. 

“We’re a little hand-tied here in Michigan because real estate is deemed non-essential. We can do business virtually, but a buyer couldn’t see a house if they wanted to, said Jeff Glover, founder, Live Unreal Inc. Family of Companies, in an RISMedia interview.

Showing much less impact are the Virginia Beach (15 percent), Nashville (16.1 percent) and Minneapolis (18.3 percent) Metro areas.

Along with sellers waiting to list, many also chose to take their homes off the market, pushing home sales in the U.S. down 15.3 percent YoY. In terms of inventory, April’s dip accounts for about 189,000 listings less than what was available on the market last year at this time. 

Biggest Drops in New Listings (YoY) By Metro Area:

1. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.
New Listings (YoY): -80 percent
Active Listing Count (YoY): -46.1 percent

2. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich.
New Listings (YoY): -75.3 percent
Active Listing Count (YoY): -13.0 percent

3. Pittsburgh, Pa.
New Listings (YoY): -74.8 percent
Active Listing Count (YoY): -16.6 percent

4. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y.
New Listings (YoY): -69.5 percent
Active Listing Count (YoY): -21.2 percent

5. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md.
New Listings (YoY): -68.8 percent
Active Listing Count (YoY): -38.7 percent

6. New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa.
New Listings (YoY): -67.9 percent
Active Listing Count (YoY): -11.2 percent

7. Rochester, N.Y.
New Listings (YoY): -58.2 percent
Active Listing Count (YoY): -26.1 percent

8. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.
New Listings (YoY): -56.1 percent
Active Listing Count (YoY): -28.6 percent

9. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.
New Listings (YoY): -56.0 percent
Active Listing Count (YoY): -26.7 percent

10 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.
New Listings (YoY): -55.5 percent
Active Listing Count (YoY): -23.7 percent

“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® Chief Economist Danielle Hale.

Data also shows that homes are sitting on the market for four days more than the national average of April 2019—now taking a total of 62 days to sell, an indicator that buyer presence has decreased as well.

Weekly data shows that homes may sit for even longer in the months to come. According to the report, during the week ending April 25, homes sat on the market for nine days longer than average. It is too soon to tell, however, how the markets will fare in the short-term. As more states begin to reopen businesses, and lessen or remove stay-at-home restrictions, the housing market could experience a boost, especially during the summer months. In fact, some markets are already showing signs of recovery.

“We had a record number of buyer appointments for 2020 last week at 101 for our team,” Matt Curtis, chief vision officer with Matt Curtis Real Estate, Inc., in Alabama told RISMedia in an interview. “We also had two of the busiest days of call-in leads on Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1 as the state opened back up [May 1].”

“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,” added Hale.

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

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas