Economic improvements may be rekindling homebuyer demand, but many sellers are still keen on waiting to see what happens next. Only 1-in-5 sellers think that it is a good idea to sell right now, and new listings were down 50 percent from last year in the week ending on April 17, according to Redfin. Though seller confidence in the market would be ideal, the rising buyer demand and low inventory are a bit of a blessing in disguise as they keep home prices stable. And some markets such as the one for affordable single family homes are actually heating up as potential buyers veer away from population dense housing options.
Home-buying demand shook off more than 5 million new claims for unemployment assistance and continued to strengthen this week. We’re introducing a new measure for home-buying demand to get a clearer picture of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The new measure compares the daily number of homebuyer inquiries, regardless of whether the homebuyer is served by a Redfin agent or one of our partners, to the average daily number of inquiries in January and February, on a seasonally adjusted basis. For the seven days ended on Sunday, April 19, home-buying demand was down 19% on a seasonally-adjusted basis from pre-coronavirus levels after dropping as much as 34% at the beginning of April.
Many sellers continue to sit on the sidelines, if they can afford to wait. In an April survey of 216 prospective sellers, Redfin found only 1 in 5 thought it was a good time to sell, down from 1 in 2 at the beginning of March. So it’s no surprise that new listings for the seven days ended April 17 are down almost 50% compared to the same time last year, far more than the 19% decline in buyer demand.