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U.S. Home Sales and Listing Activity Since the Start of the Pandemic

Tight housing supply has contributed to price stability in many markets.

Nationwide new listing volume was down 25.8% nationwide com-pared to the week ending March 13, when most COVID-19 measures were implemented. Although, the weekly new listing volume is up 17.4% from its lowest level, which occurred during the week ending April 17. Nationwide weekly new listing volume has been increasing each week since that time.

For the week ending May 8, the weekly volume of listings going into contract for single-family detached homes was down 5.2% nationwide compared to the week ending March 13, when most COVID-19 measures were implemented. Weekly volume of listings going into a contract is up 46.2% from its lowest level, which occurred during the week ending April 10. Of note, nationwide weekly contract volume has been increasing each week since April 10, indicating buyers are finding ways to complete transactions while practicing social distancing.

During the week ending March 13, there was an early spike in properties being removed from the market. That trend reversed for the subsequent three weeks. Since the week of April 5, removals have settled back down to pre COVID-19 levels.

The total nationwide available inventory of single-family detached homes was down by 4.7% compared to the week ending March 13, when most COVID-19 measures were implemented, and has remained relatively constant over the past six weeks. Tight supply has helped stabilize prices in many markets through the weeks following March 6. For example, since the week ending March 6 through current, there are 86,234 fewer properties in total supply than before the beginning of COVID-19 stay-at-home measures. Thirty-six of forty-six states have shown an increasing demand for properties under contract that exceeds the net supply. If this trend continues, it will put increasing pressure on real estate values.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, housing prices continued to rise in most markets. Using a three-week moving average of the median price of new listings, two-thirds of the states reviewed saw a rise in median housing prices for newly listed properties as the historically strong spring buying season continues.

An Uptick in Median List Price

Over the week ending May 8, 32 of the 46 states have seen an uptick in the median list price of new listings, while 14 states have shown price declines. Hawaii, New York, Florida, Connecticut, and California have shown the strongest price gains. West Virginia, New Jersey, D.C., North Dakota, and Idaho have all shown the most significant declines in new listing prices.

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