Housing supply across the U.S. continued to decline sharply in the first week of April, as sellers put their listings on hold and take existing listings off the market in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report by realtor.com released Tuesday.
In the week ending April 5, the number of new listings dropped 31% year-over-year, following a 34% decline in the previous week ending March 29, according to the report, titled “The Initial Impact of Covid-19 on the Housing Market.”
“Housing supply took the quickest hit,” said Javier Vivas, director of economic research at realtor.com and author of the report. “The number of new listings have rapidly decreased as sellers are reevaluating or postponing their listings, given the restrictions of physical activities due to Covid-19.”
By comparison, during the first two weeks of March before most states went “on pause,” new listings were increasing 5% year-over-year on average.
Throughout April, active listings will likely post double-digit declines, Mr. Vivas said.
The report is based on a sample of 106 counties across six of the largest states, including New York, California, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, and Florida.
With listings falling sharply, the volume of home sales will be next to see a big impact from Covid-19, Mr. Vivas said.
In the weeks ending March 15 and March 22, home sales were slightly down, 2.7% and 2.8% year-over-year, respectively. The preliminary data for March 29 showed the number of sales were down 30% year-over-year, according to the report.
Overall, home sales in March are expected to drop 5% to 10% year-over-year. April will likely see a bigger and more widespread decline, since “April sales would typically have gone under contract in March when activity was being curtailed,” Mr. Vivas said.
Additionally, realtor.com’s surveys on homebuyers in March showed that consumer sentiments were shifting more negatively about the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
In the two weeks prior to March 11, about 14% of respondents said that the U.S. was in a recession, the share of consumers holding that belief jumped to 36% in the two weeks after March 11. The surveys polled 1,200 to 1,800 consumers nationally.
(Mansion Global is owned by Dow Jones. Both Dow Jones and realtor.com are owned by News Corp.)