Buying a home during a pandemic.

By Ron Lieber | New York Times

Your down payment fund was safely in cash. You’d planned, perhaps for years, for the 2020 home-buying season. Then, just as the perfect home hit the market, the coronavirus turned the world on its head.

Should you go through with the purchase?

Whatever it is that is happening now hasn’t hit the housing market yet, but it probably will. Stocks have fallen, entire industries are putting themselves on pause and all manner of small businesses are taking hits.

There is so much we don’t know about what the next few months will bring, including whether it will even be over in the next few months. But the economic impact of the virus will be far-reaching, affecting everything from employment rates, to buyers’ and agents’ willingness to attend open houses, to whether sellers pull listings. Many people will have less money, and they may have less access to it as well. Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest home-loan lender, said Thursday that it had no current plans to change underwriting — which leaves open the possibility that it and others might in the future.

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