The worst global pandemic in more than a century has put more than three-quarters of U.S. residents under “Stay at Home” orders. In many states, these orders have made real estate showings and other non-essential activity illegal.
So, what is COVID-19 going to do to the housing market’s spring selling season? That’s the March through June period when more than half of all U.S. home sales typically occur, as families with kids try to move before the start of the new school year in September.
Look for the peak of the housing market’s annual cycle to be delayed, not canceled, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors.
A few more kids than usual might be switching schools midstream this year, as families search for homes in the summer and schedule the moving vans for the fall, but those deals likely will still happen, he said.
“We are in uncertain times, but I do think that people who are staying at home right now, once the all-clear signal is given, will be going back into the market,” Yun said in an interview.
While there’s no good time for a pandemic, this one comes after months of a record housing inventory shortage – meaning, a lack of available properties on the market. That’s created a level of pent-up demand that pushed February home sales to 5.77 million at an annual pace, a 13-year high.