Belfiore: What to look for with the housing market during COVID-19

Housing market
Housing market

By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

The housing market will ‘shelter in place’ for the near-term with home sales and new listings decreasing because of the impact of the Coronavirus.

Still, regional real estate expert Jim Belfiore does not expect to see a spike in the supply of homes for sale even with demand falling.

“I don’t expect a significant increase in supply,” said Belfiore, who is President of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting.

Belfiore projects the regional housing market will see both prospective buyers and sellers to hold off on purchases and listing properties.

“Most buyers are going to sit this out. Sellers are not going to list their propertiese,” Belfiore said of the near-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on real estate.

Belfiore said the pandemic’s impacts on home sales won’t show up fully in his numbers for a while but he has started tracking cancellations.

Some prospective buyers have canceled contracts to buy homes because of the virus’ impact of their jobs and the economy.

“The data is not going to show significant drops on the macro side for a while,” he said.

Belfiore said the early part of March (before the impact) were the best for new home sales in 15 years.

“The sales in the first half of March were the best sale since 2005; the strength in the market one month ago will mask the relative weakness later in the month and into April.” Belfiore said.

He said there have been some home sales in the sales pipeline that have still be finalized but builders have already seen drops in demand.  “The good news?  The good news is builders are still open and they are still seeing some demand.  Less demand is better than no demand,” Belfiore suggested.  “Homebuilders learned from past ‘boom and bust’ periods, and this time they go in with little supply; they will come out strong as the disease subsides”.

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