According to Realtor.com’s April 2020 housing data, single-family home listings have declined significantly nationwide since the Covid-19 pandemic, with real estate markets in larger cities being especially hard hit. For homebuyers who are looking to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates, available inventory continues to tighten due to the pandemic, with many developers pausing new construction, and owners of existing homes delaying their plans to sell, or in some cases, de-listing their properties from the market to wait out the crisis.
U.S. Single Family Home New Listings Down 44%
The recent decline in new listings is further impacting an already tight real estate market. In April, national single-family housing inventory declined by more than 15% from the same time last year—with larger metro areas declining by 16%. Newly listed homes were 44% lower than the same time last year and larger metro markets experienced a greater than 45 % drop.
Q1 2020 Home Sales are 6.7% Ahead of Last Year's Pace
Accompanying this tightening of inventory was a sharp pullback in home sales in March—as Covid-19 social distancing and stay-at-home orders were implemented across the country. Overall, single-family home sales fell 15.4% in March, but with a strong start in January and February, sales through the end of Q1 2020 are actually running 6.7% ahead of their 2019 pace, according to a recent report released by Wells Fargo.
Economists Predict Single Family Home Sales to Be Resilient
Wells Fargo economists reported that nationally, home mortgage applications declined in March, but April saw a slight rise, suggesting the sale of single-family homes should prove to be resilient over the summer, and single-family residential real estate should not experience the devastating Covid-19 related losses other industries, such as airlines and restaurants have.
For fix and flip investors, this decline in inventory represents an opportunity to meet the needs of homebuyers who are struggling to find suitable properties in their local markets. In areas of the country where existing homes are hard to come by and new construction is paused or canceled due to Covid-19 complications, house flippers are bringing like-new housing options to the market for eager home buyers.