A new report by the National Association of Realtors is shedding some light on exactly how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the real estate market. The National Association of Realtors is America’s largest trade association representing more than 1.4 million brokers, property managers, appraisers, and others engaged in commercial and residential real estate.
The survey was delivered to a random sample of 86,699 members, of which 2,291 provided useable responses (2.64% response rate). Ninety-two percent of respondents conduct the majority of their business in the residential market, and 88 percent of respondents are in a state that has declared a state of emergency. Eighty-one percent of member respondents work in a local market where there have presumed or confirmed cases of COVID-19.
In a time when widespread misinformation and mass hysteria seem to be the default, it’s high time we relied on some objective data analysis to put things in perspective.
The report surveyed members to assess self-reported changes in members’ local markets during the crisis. The questions assessed renter behavior, buyer and seller behavior, the impact of social distancing on business, home price expectations and fluctuations, technology use, and closing delays.
Nearly twice as many property managers as individual landlords reported renters’ requesting delayed payments, which they will be able to accommodate. The majority of both reported rents being paid on time without issue.
While 63% of members said buyers are expecting a decline in home prices, 75% of members said none of their sellers reduced their prices. Regardless, 60% of members reported that buyers are delaying their purchasing process by several months. On top of that, 90% of members reported a decline in buyer activity, almost half of which reported a decline by more than 50%.
Sixty percent of respondents reported that most or all aspects of buying transactions can be completed while respecting social distancing, including use of gloves and masks for in-person interactions. Thirty-three percent reported that searching must be delayed or halted due to interactions and government stay-at-home mandates.
Perhaps the good news is that despite the virus significantly impacting this sector, buyers and sellers alike are taking serious measures to stop the spread while keeping the momentum of life moving forward. If that is the most we can ask of this process, I’d say there is much reason for optimism.