- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The coronavirus crisis dried up the real estate market in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia metro areas with April posting the lowest volume of new listings in a decade, according to new market data released Tuesday.

The result is a seller’s market that drives up prices.

Homeowners were hesitant to list their properties amid stay-at-home orders, and median sale prices for the homes already ticked up in the urban areas, according to data provided by MarketStats by ShowingTime based on listing activity from Bright MLS.

“The little inventory that does exist out there is getting snapped up and is going for really solid prices … People were surprised with how strong the pricing was,” said Chris Finnegan, chief marketing and communications officer for Bright MLS, a company that supplies subscribers with real estate analytics.

“If you did decide to stick it out and sell your house during this period, you are not taking a hit for that,” he added.

Washington metro area homes sold at a median price of $507,000, which was a monthly high for the past 10 years. Homes didn’t stay on the market long — only an average of seven days — and they were also likely to sell at the full asking price.

The low amount of inventory also helped Baltimore hit its highest average monthly sale price, $300,000.

The same occurred in Philadelphia, with the highest median monthly sale price at $272,100.

“Generally speaking, around the country there is absolutely a trend where people are holding off on listing during this spring that otherwise would have listed,” Mr. Finnegan said.

Those who sat on the sidelines will likely list their properties once life returns to more normalcy and stay-at-home orders are lifted, creating more supply.

Matt Windsor, a real estate agent licensed in D.C., Virginia and Maryland, told The Washington Times he predicts a “robust” fall market compared to the usual spring rush when most sellers enter the market.

“I think we are going to see things bounce back to pre-COVID levels earlier this year where we were at a historic pace in the market,” he said.

But what about the demand? Will there be buyers with so many people who have lost their jobs?

Mr. Finnegan said mortgage rates are low due to the pandemic, which will likely entice buyers, and the quarantines have given people time to consider whether they want more square footage.

“You’re hearing tons of that,” he said. “They have been stuck inside for so long are obsessed and super aware of their own housing situation and often times it is not a positive, so it is people saying: ‘I want more space or a bigger backyard.’”

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