People who’re trying to sell their home during the COVID-19 pandemic are being warned they’ll need to be a bit more patient than usual, as the process is likely to take a little longer.
That’s according to the latest realtor.com survey, which found that homes are taking an average of 15 days, or 27%, longer to sell than a year ago. That’s the largest increase in days homes are spending on the market since 2013.
The average number of days homes spend on the market has increased gradually since the outbreak began. During the first two weeks of March, homes were selling four days faster than a year ago.
“Mid-May is normally the time of year when homes sell the fastest,” said Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist. “Today’s median time on the market is more like what we usually see in late February or November.”
Growing unemployment and stay-at-home orders have caused a slowdown in the housing market. Last week, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales fell 17.8% in April compared to March. Economists say the sales slump is likely to be temporary though, especially with the sudden uptick in mortgage applications for home purchases.
Still, consumers shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming that housing has suddenly become a buyer’s market, as analysts say the opposite. Home prices are holding firm. In fact, the NAR said existing-home prices for all types of housing rose 7.4% in April compared to a year ago.
“This may be surprising to a lot of people,” Hale said. However, the market remains characterized by a tight inventory of homes for sale. New listings fell by 39% for the week ending May 2, compared to one year ago.
Hale said she expects that days on the market will drop again in the late summer as more cities loosen restrictions and more potential buyers return to work.