Home Sales Show First Positive Signs After Dramatic Slowdown in March

SEATTLE, April 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Amid an unprecedented health crisis, pending sales in the U.S. housing market fell steeply during the second half of March, according to a new Zillow® Real Estate Market Reporti. But that trendline has leveled off in recent weeks and even begun to increase, a sign that activity may be starting to pick up. 

Pending sales peaked this year in the seven days ending March 12 and have fallen since, as health and safety measures to counter the coronavirus pandemic took effect. Recent signals indicate the tide may be beginning to turn. Though they remain 32.3% below last year’s level, the week-over-week change in pending sales turned positive in the week ending April 15, and is up 6.2% week over week as of the seven days ending April 19. Zillow web traffic on for-sale listings and requests to connect with Premier Agents have grown as well in recent weeks, another sign home shopping activity may be picking up.

Among large metros, pending sales have fallen the most compared to a year ago in Pittsburgh (down 74.4%), Detroit (down 66.8%) and Los Angeles (down 58.7%). They have fallen the least in Cleveland (down 16.8%) and San Diego (down 22.5%). 

After a stronger-than-usual start to the year, the beginning of home shopping season was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and new for-sale listings dropped sharply. New listings fell even further through the first half of April, down as much as 43.8% from a year ago in the week ending April 17. They have ticked up slightly in the days since, but remained down 37.7% year over year and down 13.7% week over week in the seven days ending April 19. Pittsburgh (down 68.5%), Detroit (down 64.9%) and New York (down 57.6%) have seen the biggest year-over-year declines, while new listings in Minneapolis-St. Paul (down 11.4%) and Cincinnati (down 14.1%) have fallen off the least. 

The slowdown has started to impact total for-sale listings, as well. Inventory of for-sale listings grew 3.3% during the month of March even as new listings fell 17.2%, likely because homes listed before coronavirus health and safety measures were put in place sat on the market longer while buyer activity slowed. But total inventory has fallen since, down 1% month-over-month and down 12.1% year-over-year as of the seven days ending April 19. 

“Real estate transactions and new listings have declined abruptly amidst the coronavirus pandemic, but we haven’t yet seen prices significantly affected,” said Jeff Tucker, economist at Zillow. “Buyers have pulled back in the face of new economic uncertainty but sellers are also shying away from listing their homes in a market that was already starved for inventory, so it is possible that home prices remain insulated, at least in the short-term. Like a canoe being carried by two people who drop both ends simultaneously, the market slowdown may not tip clearly in favor of buyers or sellers.”

The median list price of U.S. homes on the market was 0.4% higher than a year ago as of April 19. At this time last year, list prices were up about 7% year over year. The 2020 figure is likely affected by the dearth of new listings on the market as newer listings during this time of the year tend to be priced higher than older ones. 

The typical home value in the U.S. rose 4.1% year over year in March to $248,857, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. Values rose the most in Phoenix (up 7.6%), Columbus (up 6.1%) and Charlotte (up 5.9%). 

In what was a volatile month, mortgage rates listed by third-party lenders on Zillow began March at 3.84% and ended at 3.61%. But in between they rose to a peak of 4.58% on March 13, and fell as low as 3.44% on March 27. Zillow’s real-time mortgage rates are based on thousands of custom mortgage quotes submitted daily to anonymous borrowers on the Zillow Mortgages site by third-party lenders and reflect recent changes in the market.

Metropolitan
Area

Pending
Sales – YOY
Change*

Pending
Sales –
WOW
Change*

New
Listings –
YOY
Change*

Total
Listings –
YOY
Change*

Zillow Home
Value Index,
March 2020

ZHVI YOY
Change,
March
2020

United States

-32.3%

6.2%

-37.6%

-12.1%

$248,857

4.1%

New York, NY

-43.6%

0.8%

-57.6%

-20.9%

$485,812

1.0%

Los Angeles,
CA

-58.7%

3.1%

-30.6%

-30.8%

$697,203

4.9%

Chicago, IL

-45.5%

9.1%

-39.8%

-16.8%

$242,168

1.1%

Dallas-Fort
Worth, TX

-25.8%

12.6%

-21.4%

-9.0%

$256,264

2.4%

Philadelphia,
PA

-56.2%

-2.8%

-52.8%

-34.7%

$252,280

2.9%

Houston, TX

-24.2%

17.8%

-29.5%

2.4%

$218,952

2.3%

Washington,
DC

-35.3%

-1.2%

-21.6%

-18.9%

$439,386

2.9%

Miami-Fort
Lauderdale, FL

-58.1%

5.4%

-44.9%

-11.9%

$305,619

2.8%

Atlanta, GA

-35.0%

4.7%

-30.4%

5.9%

$244,070

4.9%

Boston, MA

-58.0%

-3.9%

-34.3%

-27.4%

$498,566

2.9%

San Francisco,
CA

N/A

N/A

-28.7%

-28.2%

$1,141,029

3.1%

Detroit, MI

-66.8%

1.8%

-64.9%

-7.2%

$183,941

4.7%

Riverside, CA

-38.5%

8.8%

-35.1%

-26.3%

$388,680

3.3%

Phoenix, AZ

-36.3%

2.8%

-25.3%

-25.3%

$294,161

7.6%

Seattle, WA

-35.4%

10.3%

-22.6%

-25.0%

$544,451

5.7%

Minneapolis-St
Paul, MN

N/A

N/A

-11.4%

-1.7%

$297,586

4.4%

San Diego, CA

-22.5%

23.1%

-29.4%

-26.2%

$628,519

5.6%

St. Louis, MO

-32.0%

16.7%

-34.5%

-18.8%

$180,685

2.6%

Tampa, FL

N/A

N/A

-32.9%

-10.3%

$234,217

4.9%

Baltimore, MD

-23.7%

24.0%

-28.7%

-25.1%

$294,353

1.2%

Denver, CO

-52.2%

-7.7%

-42.9%

-9.3%

$444,722

2.7%

Pittsburgh, PA

-74.4%

1.9%

-68.5%

-19.5%

$160,865

4.3%

Portland, OR

-27.6%

19.4%

-32.6%

-8.4%

$424,513

2.6%

Charlotte, NC

-45.5%

17.9%

-31.1%

-10.8%

$240,278

5.9%

Sacramento,
CA

-36.5%

17.8%

-19.4%

-5.2%

$440,987

5.6%

San Antonio,
TX

N/A

N/A

-30.2%

1.4%

$206,184

3.3%

Orlando, FL

N/A

N/A

-26.2%

-5.8%

$259,631

3.9%

Cincinnati, OH

-23.0%

5.6%

-14.1%

-19.4%

$187,915

4.3%

Cleveland, OH

-16.8%

9.7%

-36.9%

-29.8%

$160,537

4.8%

Kansas City,
MO

-30.0%

15.9%

-38.4%

-21.7%

$207,289

4.1%

Las Vegas, NV

-43.8%

5.9%

-33.0%

-16.6%

$295,500

2.0%

Columbus, OH

-23.9%

-4.8%

-22.1%

-10.1%

$214,638

6.1%

Indianapolis,
IN

-28.6%

13.3%

-33.6%

-7.4%

$183,655

5.4%

San Jose, CA

N/A

N/A

-31.3%

-22.5%

$1,253,398

2.9%

Austin, TX

-29.5%

14.6%

-27.2%

-5.6%

$342,320

3.7%

*As of the seven days ending April 19 

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i The Zillow Real Estate Market Reports are a monthly overview of the national and local real estate markets. The reports are compiled by Zillow Real Estate Research. For more information, visit www.zillow.com/research/. The data in Zillow’s Real Estate Market Reports are aggregated from public sources by a number of data providers for 928 metropolitan and micropolitan areas dating back to 1996. Mortgage and home loan data are typically recorded in each county and publicly available through a county recorder’s office. All current monthly data at the national, state, metro, city, ZIP code and neighborhood level can be accessed at www.zillow.com/research/data.

SOURCE Zillow

For further information: Alex Lacter, Zillow. press@zillow.com

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