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NAR survey affirms concern over spring housing market slowdown

Seventy-two percent of respondents found sellers were not reducing prices in the hopes of attracting buyers

The majority of homebuyers and sellers are bypassing the spring housing season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest Economic Pulse Flash Survey published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

In a poll conducted April 5-6 that generated responses from 5,855 NAR members, 59% of respondents said buyers were delaying home purchases for the next few months and 57% reported sellers were delaying the listing of their homes over the same period. As a result of the pandemic, 90% of respondents reported a drop in interest among potential buyers while 80% found a lower number of homes now on the market.

However, while 63% of respondents stated buyers expected a drop in home prices as a result of the current environment, 72% of respondents found sellers were not reducing prices in the hopes of attracting buyers.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, predicted a rough spring for housing market but did not foresee long-term problems.

“Home prices will remain stable because of a pandemic-induced reduction in inventory coupled with less immediate concerns over foreclosures,” said Yun.

As for transactions that are currently underway, 34% percent of NAR’s residential members reported no closing delays. As for those encountering delays, the difficulties were mostly associated with financing (31% of respondents), appraisals (25%), home inspections (21%), title searches (17%) and final walk-throughs (17%).

The survey also found NAR members relying on high-tech tools to stay connected with stakeholders, with most of their attention aimed at buyers. Fifty-eight percent of respondents relied on virtual tours of available properties while 84% used e-signature tools to get the buyers’ John Hancock. Live video was popular with half of the respondents in their outreach to future clients.

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