The coronavirus pandemic's impact on the housing market came into clearer view this month as industry groups released new statistics.
In March, existing home sales dropped 8.5% compared with February to a seasonally adjusted 5.3 million. However, that's still up 0.8% from March 2019, according to a National Association of Realtors news release. The NAR's report on April sales is scheduled to be released May 21.
Officials with the NAR and government-sponsored enterprise Fannie Mae are forecasting decreases in home sales in the coming months.
“Unfortunately, we knew home sales would wane in March due to the coronavirus outbreak,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in the release. “More temporary interruptions to home sales should be expected in the next couple of months, though home prices will still likely rise.”
A Fannie Mae report from this month predicts home sales will drop by nearly 15% this year. Existing home sales are projected to drop to 4.5 million units from 5.3 million in 2019, according to the report and reporting by MarketWatch.
The NAR’s Yun further said in the release that “fewer sellers are listing homes, which will limit buyer choices. Significantly more listings are needed and more will come on to the market once the economy steadily reopens.”
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