“It is clear that many would-be home sellers are adopting a wait-and-see approach as uncertainty continues to rule,” Skylar Olsen, senior principal economist at Zillow, said in a statement.
In 2018 and 2019, the number of new listings coming onto the market grew 50% from March 1 to April 5. This year, the number of new listings during that period fell by 19%.
The effects were more dramatic in certain areas. Detroit, Pittsburgh, New York and Philadelphia experienced the greatest year-over-year declines in new listings as of April 5.
New home listings were higher in just two of the metropolitan areas that Zillow examined: Austin, where listings grew almost 14% from the prior year, and Atlanta, where listings were up 10%.
“Our understanding of US economic conditions is changing weekly, if not daily, and early unemployment figures are striking, so it’s understandable that some are hesitant to put their home on the market,” Olsen said.
Buyers may be hesitant, too.
But Olsen said he expects the downturn will ease as the coronavirus crisis does.
“It is possible that this year’s busy home shopping season is pushed into winter as some opt to hang back but activity continues from those who need to buy or sell for a job move or another major life event,” Olsen said. “What’s not likely is that the bulk of potential home sellers and buyers simply throw up their hands and pull back from the market entirely.”