A precipitous drop in home sales during the second half of March due to the COVID-19 pandemic has since leveled off and begun to recover, a report released Thursday by real estate site Zillow found.
While sales are down 22.5% year-over-year, San Diego is still one of the better-off large metropolitan areas. Among large metros, pending sales have fallen the most compared to a year ago in Pittsburgh, down 74.4%, Detroit down, 66.8%, and Los Angeles, down 58.7%. They have fallen the least in Cleveland, at 16.8%.
San Diego’s sales have improved over last week’s figures by 23.1%, a sign the market could be recovering.
New listings were down 29.4% from a year ago while total inventory is down 26.2% year over year. The median list price in the San Diego region was $748,910, up 1.3% year-over-year.
Pending sales peaked this year in the seven days ending March 12 and have fallen since, as health and safety measures to counter the coronavirus pandemic took effect. Though they remain 32.3% below last year’s level, the week-over-week change in pending sales turned positive in the week ending April 15, and is up 6.2% week over week as of the seven days ending April 19.
New listings fell even further through the first half of April, down as much as 43.8% from a year ago in the week ending April 17. They have ticked up slightly in the days since, but remained down 37.7% year over year, and down 13.7% week over week in the seven days ending April 19.
The slowdown has started to impact total for-sale listings, as well. Inventory of for-sale listings grew 3.3% during the month of March even as new listings fell 17.2%, likely because homes listed before coronavirus health and safety measures were put in place sat on the market longer while buyer activity slowed. But total inventory has fallen since, down 1% month-over-month and down 12.1% year-over-year as of the seven days ending April 19.
“Real estate transactions and new listings have declined abruptly amidst the coronavirus pandemic, but we haven’t yet seen prices significantly affected,” said Jeff Tucker, economist at Zillow.
“Buyers have pulled back in the face of new economic uncertainty but sellers are also shying away from listing their homes in a market that was already starved for inventory, so it is possible that home prices remain insulated, at least in the short-term. Like a canoe being carried by two people who drop both ends simultaneously, the market slowdown may not tip clearly in favor of buyers or sellers,” Tucker said.