But not because of the weather. As COVID-19’s impact spread across the United States throughout March, the stock market declines hit investors hard, recovering only slightly in the final week of the month. Massive layoffs also shook the economy with 3.28 million initial jobless claims filed in a single week—the highest in history more than four times over.
Real estate followed suit hitting the Capital Region’s market hard as real estate professionals chartered a new “normal” to accommodate buyers and sellers through virtual listing, showing, and closing processes. Pending sales decreased 21 percent from March 2019 to 886 – usually the start of the sales season. Closed sales decreased by 10 percent from March 2019 (720 for the month). New listings topped out at 1,288 versus 1,601 in 2019 with buyer interest keeping brokerages busy conducting 15,669 showings across the region.
Inventory levels market-wide decreased 15.6 percent to 4,328 homes available for sale with percent of original sales price holding steady over March 2019 at 94.9 percent but in less time. Days on market reported in at just over two months (68 DOM) to sell a home in the Captial Region last month. New construction, sidelined due to the state stoppage order, lagged with a 21 percent drop in new listings. Pending sales wrapped up the month causing a jump by nearly 20 percent over March 2019. Median new construction sale prices remained constant at $376,245.
Existing home prices told a different story – continuing to creep up as compared to last year at this time by 7.6 percent. The median sales price increased by 7.6 percent to $215,000. Greater Capital Association of Realtors President, Tom McGroder, of Thomas J. Real Estate, commented, “As long as demand is high and inventory is low, 2020 should continue to see year-over-year price increases. Buyers still want to buy and sellers still want to sell.”
While the effect of COVID-19 is varied throughout the country, the Capital Region is likely to see impacts to housing activity now and into the coming months across all industries. Its continued spread is leading many companies and consumers to change their daily activities. Greater Capital Association of Realtors CEO, Laura Burns, said “Having taken the most serious hit in the country from the Coronavirus, Capital real estate professionals in the Capital Region and across the state have risen to the occasion showing the resilience to stay strong, find new ways to accomplish connections, and, as always, help those who are in most need throughout the local communities.”