Buyer demand remains strong despite pandemic, says new report

by Deanna Kane

April data is beginning to show the impact of coronavirus stay-at-home orders on the real estate market, and the numbers are not as dire as expected.

In its recently released National Housing Report, RE/MAX shows April home sales across the country tumbled 20.2% year over year.

Inventory was also down in the report’s 53 markets, falling 20.5% year over year, a condition that seems to be propping up home prices as buyer demand remains strong. Days on market seemed to attest to this, dropping seven days to 46 year over year and setting a new low for April in the report’s 12-year history.

The report showed that median sale prices in April were up 9.3% year over year to $276,000, also a record high for April.

In Boston, April home sales were down 16% year over year, less than the national average, while median sales prices were up 11.6% year over year.

“April results were better than many expected, as consumers continued to buy and sell real estate in one of the most challenging months for housing in memory,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos in a press release. “This was a headwind like no other — yet we still saw activity across the country. Even in the markets that dropped 40% in sales, people wanted or needed to move, which says something about resiliency and the power of homeownership.”

While the coronavirus pandemic and measures to slow it have pushed the spring selling season back, Contos said he believes buyer demand will remain strong. “Sellers who pulled their listings in March or April will hopefully come back into the market this summer. Others may start the process after being stuck in a home that no longer suits them. Both groups could help alleviate the inventory challenges we’ve faced for quite some time. Moving forward, agents who’ve adjusted their business strategies are positioned for success in the more virtual environment.”

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