How the Coronavirus Is Affecting the Housing Industry

Pro Builder is rounding up the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic's impact on the housing industry.

March 16, 2020
Coronavirus close up
Image: Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAMS, CDC Database

Week of May 31

Will Denver Reclaim Its Status as a Rising Economic Powerhouse? (Realtor.com) - June 1

Experts believe that Denver will be a good case study to see if the same strengths that fostered its growth can help the city bounce back.

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Most Vulnerable Housing Markets (NAHB) - June 1

Which housing markets are most vulnerable during this downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic? Based on current unemployment trends brought on by the outbreak, an analysis by the American Community Survey (ACS) sheds light on which states are likely to lag when the housing recovery takes hold.

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Less Builders Use Incentives to Bolster Sales Than During Great Recession, Normal Times (NAHB) - June 1

More than half of single-family builders are using incentives to bolster sales and limit cancellations, according to NAHB.

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How Meritage Homes Halted Land Deals, Calmed Buyer Fears to Survive Downturn (CFO Dive) - May 31

When a crisis strikes, it can be hard to think straight, but some of the business decisions made at the start can be the difference between your business sinking or swimming.

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How Are Retirement Communities Adapting to the Pandemic? (CNBC) - May 31

Age-restricted communities marketed toward retirees are changing to keep residents safe during the pandemic. Popular amenities and community activities that initially attracted many residents are now on hold as operators prioritize health.

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Couple Walking in suburbs
By Llstock

Week of May 25

Urban Exodus to Suburbs Not Yet Playing Out, Zillow says (CNBC) - May 29

Waiting for a wave of city dwellers to rush to the suburbs? Zillow says not to count your chickens before they hatch.

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Top 5 Markets for Construction Activity (Multi-Housing News) - May 29

As demand for multifamily units continued to rise in recent years, so has development activity, with almost 1 million units completed over the past three years, according to Yardi Matrix data. 

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How Coronavirus Revealed the Importance of Space for Renters (John Burns Real Estate Company) - May 29

Real estate experts say that multifamily builders have two opportunities for enticing renters: Efficient home plans and community amenities.

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Why Are Some Housing Markets Recovering Quicker Than Others? (Forbes) - May 29

Amid some of the darkest days in recent American history, the housing market is quietly recovering. But not all cities are rebounding at the same pace.

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New Home Sales, Home Builder Stocks Soar in May (BNN Bloomberg) - May 29

New home sales and some home builder’s stocks increased in the month of May after surviving steep declines the month prior. Some home builders are even reporting gains above pre-coronavirus levels, according to BNN Bloomberg.

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Which Housing Markets Are Most Vulnerable in Current Market Conditions? (NAHB) - May 29

Some housing markets are more vulnerable than others due to at-risk industries and residents struggling with rent or mortgage payments.

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Weekly New Listings, Pending Sales Spike, While Inventory Remains Tight (Zillow) - May 29 

Weekly pending sales and new listings are on the rise, ending another chaotic month for the housing market on a high note.

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Outdoor Space Apartment
By jamesteohart

 

Pending home sales saw biggest decline on record in April because of coronavirus pandemic (MarketWatch) - May 29

The index of pending home sales dropped 21.8% in April compared to March as the coronavirus pandemic kept prospective home-buyers out of the market, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

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Pending Home Sales Plunge in April, But Demand Signals a Rebound (CNBC) - May 28

Though April housing demand signals the start of a recovery, the month's number of pending sales reflected the strain in previous months due to stay-at-home orders and uncertain economic conditions. 

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Property Type Driving Miami Real Estate Trends During Pandemic (Redfin) - May 28

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Miami housing market falls along property lines: Single-family homes are still selling like hot cakes, but condos? Not so much.

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How Are Home Prices Faring During the Pandemic? (Realtor.com) - May 28

With high unemployment and an unstable economy, many bargain hunters waited eagerly for deep discounts on  houses. To their disappointment, the median home list prices jumped instead.

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Top 10 States Most Impacted by Coronavirus Pandemic (Construction Dive) - May 27

The housing market may be recovering, but some home builders are still picking up the pieces from cancellations and declines in construction employment.

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The Summer Homebuying Season Is Heating Up Faster Than Expected (Realtor.com) - May 27

Summer seems to be picking up where the spring homebuying season left off, and even real estate professionals are surprised.

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How the Coronavirus Is Changing Some Boomers' Real Estate Plans for the Better (Realtor.com) - May 27

For baby boomers, the question of when—and where—they'll retire is a perennial topic of discussion. But with the novel coronavirus sweeping the globe, it has become an especially pressing question these days.

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Mortgage Demand Spikes in April, Signaling Unexpectedly Quick Recovery (CNBC) - May 27

There is a heat wave coming, but we’re not talking about the upcoming weather. The housing market is heating up as strong mortgage demand foreshadows a quicker recovery than expected.

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How Coronavirus Is Reshaping the Way Americans Think of the Home (Forbes) - May 27

Now that people have had to come to terms with the limitations of their homes more than ever, some real estate experts say that the coronavirus will leave lasting marks on how people view the home.

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'OK Google, What Do Buyers Want?' (Pro Builder) - May 26

We use Google for just about everything. In the 21st century, one of our greatest confidants and teachers is Google Search, amounting to 3.2 billion searches a day. 

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Unexpected Increase in New Home Sales, Decline in Major Sectors (Zillow) - May 26

To the relief of housing professionals, the 23 percent decline in new home sales forecasted for April never came.

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Will the Housing Industry Lead the Nation’s Economic Recovery? (NAHB) - May 26

The housing industry was bracing itself for a brutal April, but for new home builders, the damage was not nearly as bad as expected. Though new home sales were down from January, they stayed relatively flat compared to March despite challenging conditions due to the coronavirus.

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How Builders May Rekindle Southern California’s Burnt Out Housing Market (National Mortgage News) - May 26

While the resale market in Southern California grapples with the pandemic's challenges, home builders may be the first spark to reignite California’s housing market, according to National Mortgage news. Builders’ homes are clean, and their showings conditions are controlled, major pluses for home shopping during a pandemic.

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Week of May 17

Will the Pandemic Lead to Larger Single-Family Homes? (NAHB) - May 22

For the past four years, new single-family homes have been shrinking. However, the trend may now reverse course.

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As Remote Work Continues, Bay Area Homebuyers Hone In on Oakland and Other Suburbs (Redfin) - May 22

The housing market in Oakland and suburban parts of the Bay Area are recovering at a faster rate than San Francisco or San Jose, which may be an early indication of migration patterns as the future of remote work unfolds. 

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Housing Data Hint at Potential for Economic Recovery (NAHB) - May 22

Housing data was in focus this week, with April readings showing market impacts from government-imposed shutdowns intended to facilitate virus mitigation. While those impacts were strongly negative, the realized declines have been relatively smaller in the housing industry than initially forecasted

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Are the Suburbs Actually Trending? Not Yet, Zillow Data Shows (Zillow) - May 22

Real estate experts speculated that cooped up Millennials and health-conscious families would spark an exodus from the cities to the suburbs, but so far, all has been quiet on that front.

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Home in suburbs
By ivan_sabo

 

OSHA Now Requires Builders to Track COVID-19 Cases, Many Exempt (NAHB) - May 22

In a reversal of its previous requirements, OSHA announced that builders subject to its record-keeping requirements must begin tracking work-related coronavirus cases on injury and illness logs.

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Low Mortgage Rates Heat Up Market, Raise Future Mobility Concerns (Forbes) - May 22

On May 21st, the interest rate on a 30-year home loan was 3.24 percent—a full percentage point lower than the same time in 2019, according to Freddie Mac. Now that demand is heating up, economists forecast that the low interest rates combined with pent-up demand will bolster sales for the rest of the year.

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NAR: 5 Housing Market Trends to Watch (National Association of Realtors) - May 22

Realtors are reporting that demand is making a comeback, and while real estate investors have retreated, first-time home buyers have increased their market share. 

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Is Summer the New Homebuying Season? (HousingWire) - May 22

Move over spring. There’s a new homebuying season in town, and it’s just starting to ramp up. After months of waiting out the stay-at-home orders, buyers are back and cautiously wading out into the real estate waters, according to HousingWire.

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Coronavirus Leads to Worst Home Sales in a Decade—What This Means for Buyers, Sellers (Realtor.com) - May 21

Existing-home sales hit their lowest level in a decade as the coronavirus pandemic continued to play havoc on the housing market.

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Visualizing Housing and Remodeling Market Fluctuations: 2010 to COVID-19 (Fixr) - May 21

The housing market has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years. Internal and external factors from the foreclosure crisis of 2010 to an inventory shortage just four years later have led to major swings in the market.

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Home Sellers Should Channel Patience as Time on Market Shoots Up During the Crisis (Realtor.com) - May 21

They say patience is a virtue. Home sellers attempting to unload their properties during this COVID-19 crisis may need to take those words to heart.

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Housing Affordability in March 2020 (National Association of Realtors) - May 21

At the national level, housing affordability improved in March 2020 compared to a year ago but fell compared to February, according to NAR’s Housing Affordability Index. Median home prices rose 8.0 % in March from one year ago. The effective 30-year fixed mortgage rate1 fell to 3.51% this March from 3.53% in February.

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For sale sign home
By Aldeca Productions

Existing Home Sales See Largest Drop in Nearly 10 Years (NAHB) - May 21

Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), fell for the second straight month in April as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country’s economic activity and hit the labor market.

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Home sales dropped nearly 18% in April, while decline in inventory pushed prices to a record high (CNBC) - May 21

The economic fallout from the coronavirus hit the housing market hard in April.

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Newly Built Homes Increase Market Share, Existing Home Supply Plummets (Redfin) - May 21

After a tumultuous start to spring, the decline of newly built homes is stalling.

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Why Aren’t Home Prices Falling in Current Economic Conditions? (Curbed) - May 21

How is it that Americans are facing massive paycheck cuts and layoffs, but housing prices aren’t in free fall? The key lies in supply and demand.

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Redfin Brings Employees Back As Demand Surges Past Pre-Pandemic Levels (Redfin) - May 21

Low interest rates are proving too good of a deal to pass up for potential homebuyers who are financially stable enough to swing a home purchase.

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How Low Will Mortgage Rates Go? (Realtor.com) - May 21

If homebuyers know where to look, they will find some lenders are handing out loans in the 2-3 percent range.

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“This Is Not the Time to Dust Off Your 2009 Playbook” (Equipment World) - May 20

As states reopen, it may be tempting for builders to take off faster than you can say coronavirus. But in order to safeguard the future of the company, they should consider their next steps carefully as they work to regain productivity.

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Why Experts Predict 2021 Is The Year To Buy A Home, Despite Coronavirus (Huffington Post) - May 20

The coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench into just about everyone’s plans. Vacations were canceled, lesson plans were turned upside down and millions of Americans were suddenly out of a job.

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Bidding wars in a pandemic? Housing is heating up fast (CNBC) - May 20

After the housing market nearly shut down in April, competition is back with a fury.

States are loosening social distancing restrictions and homebuyers are rushing to open houses again. The trouble is, they’re not finding much to buy. 

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Josting knights in medieval times
By Anthony

 

First-Time Home Buyer Metro Affordability Report – Q1 2020 (NerdWallet) - May 20

Homes in major metropolitan areas were difficult to find and largely priced out of reach for first-time buyers in the first quarter of 2020.

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HBA Outreach Tells Community: We’re Open for Business (NAHB) - May 20

NAHB members and HBAs are taking steps to remind consumers that the home building industry is ready to serve the community as stay at home orders continue to be lifted. 

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Pandemic Shakes Up Rental Market As Pending Sales Make a Comeback (Zillow) - May 20

While the for-sale market has been starting its recovery, the rental market is showing signs of strain. In the largest monthly drop in at least five years, annual rent growth has slowed by half a percentage point in April.

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Nearly a Quarter of Builders Slashed Prices in April (NAHB) - May 20

Demand may be bouncing back, but the damage from the pandemic may take longer to heal.

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Housing Shortage Sparks Bidding Wars During the Pandemic (Redfin) - May 20

Bidding wars in this day and age? Despite the coronavirus pandemic, they’re not just happening—they’re happening a lot, thanks to low inventory.

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Climbing Weekly Mortgage Applications Hint at Housing Recovery (CNBC) - May 20

Six weeks ago, mortgage applications for home purchases were down 35 percent annually, but demand is roaring back.

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Man Climbing a mountain almost there
By vchalup

Is the Labor Shortage About to Get Worse? (Pro Builder) - May 19

As home builders navigate social distancing guidelines at their construction sites, some are contemplating the potential impact of COVID-19 on the longer-term availability of skilled labor.

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Housing Starts Plummet in April As Pandemic Takes Its Toll (MarketWatch) - May 19

The housing industry was already struggling to build itself out of an inventory shortage before the pandemic hit ...

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Will the Pandemic Ignite a Surge in Homeownership? (Forbes) - May 18

With the rampant layoffs, pay cuts, and financial turmoil, the pandemic sparking an increase in homeownership may sound like a joke, but real estate experts say that it may do just that.

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Home Builder Sentiment Rising in May After Record Drop in April (CNBC) - May 18

Home builder sentiment is still shaky, but builders are regaining confidence as demand starts to bounce back.

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Homebuyer Traffic Soars, But Sales Remain Uncertain (Point2 Homes) - May 18

Homebuyers are back on the prowl—online at least. Searches for homes are back at and even surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

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Lack of Inventory Prevents Price Declines, Holds Back April Home Sales (Redfin) - May 18

Housing demand was in free fall in April. The only factor that kept housing prices stable? Supply was falling even faster.

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Will This Be a Recession or a Depression—And How Would Each Affect Housing? (Realtor.com) - May 18

It’s obvious that the economy isn’t doing too hot right now. But is it a recession, a depression, or neither? The answer isn’t clear cut, according to economists.

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Supply Disruptions and High Demand Spark Dramatic Leap in Lumber Prices (NAHB) - May 18

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood to the nearest home improvement store? Not enough to keep up with bored DIYers.

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woman looking determined at construction site
By Halfpoint

Week of May 10

Construction Layoffs in March (NAHB) - May 16

Backward-looking data illustrate the degree of damage done by the sudden stop of the U.S. economy due to the public health response associated with the coronavirus. For example, there were 4,300 net job losses in residential construction in March, followed by a staggering 415,000 losses in home building and remodeling in April.

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5 Architects Predict How the Pandemic Will Change Home Design (Forbes) - May 16

Going through a crisis reveals what is truly important, and opulent, luxury finishes may mean less in future home design than flexible work spaces and well-stocked refrigerators.

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Nearly Quarter of Homes Listed During Outbreak Priced at Discount (HousingWire) - May 15

State shutdowns, unemployment, and economic uncertainty have many Americans’ big life moves on hold, but if homebuyers can financially swing it, they might find a great deal on a home.

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Will the Rise of Remote Work Trigger a Post-Pandemic Migration? (Redfin) - May 15

If more workers do go full-time remote even after states reopen, over half of the respondents say they would move, according to a Redfin survey.

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Charting the Coronavirus Pandemic’s Latest Impact on the Housing Market (Redfin) - May 14

As states start to relax stay-at-home restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, more Americans are putting their homes up for sale—and setting higher expectations for what their houses are worth. But supply has yet to catch up to homebuying demand, which has now eclipsed pre-pandemic levels.

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The Overstated COVID-19 Blame On Urban Density In Favor Of Suburban Living (Forbes) - May 14

One of the pieces of conventional wisdom we have picked up during the COVID-19 crisis is that high-density residential living will be less favored. The city to suburban migration pattern is already beginning in New York City and could last several years.

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Housing Demand Soars Past Pre-Pandemic Levels, Inventory Remains Tight (Redfin) - May 14

As states loosen their stay-at-home orders and Americans adjust to the new normal, housing demand has not just recovered: It has eclipsed pre-coronavirus levels.

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Urban Exodus Sparks Suburban Build-For-Rent Rush in Las Vegas (CNBC) - May 14

JP Morgan Asset Management and American Homes 4 Rent are teaming up to bring new rental homes near Las Vegas. After seeing the first signs of Millennials trending toward suburban living, the companies decided to build 34 new rentals to areas near the city.

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Small Towns Drawing Big Interest Even as Urban Demand Reignites (Redfin) - May 14

Americans are now looking for small towns for more than just their charm—they’re looking for escape. Pageviews of homes in small towns with populations of 50,000 or less rose 105 percent year-over-year on Redfin. 

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Coronavirus Blamed for Tighter Credit on Loans For Builders (NAHB) - May 14

In case the suppressed demand and supply chain disruptions were not enough, builders are now reporting tighter credit conditions on loans, according to a new NAHB survey.

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Will Mortgage Delinquencies Exceed Great Recession Figures? (MarketWatch) - May 14

Nearly 4 million homeowners face forbearance plans, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. And a new report from Oxford Economics says the already bad situation may get worse.

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Top 10 Hottest Housing Markets in April (Realtor.com) - May 14

Due to the pandemic’s disruption, the hottest housing markets in the U.S. may be described more accurately as lukewarm. Still, 10 cities rose above the rest on Realtor.com’s latest monthly ranking 

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Will Remote Work Spark a Migration to the Suburbs? (Zillow) - May 13

Over half of employed Americans have had the opportunity to work remote during the pandemic, and 75 percent of those asked said they would like to continue to work remotely at least part time in a recent Zillow survey conducted by The Harris Poll.

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Pandemic May Shrink Global Trade, Hasten Adoption of Regional Supply Chains (CNBC) - May 13

After months of our personal lives shrinking, the scope of trade may diminish as well as companies turn to suppliers closer to home.

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Man staring at a maze
By ra2 studio

Mortgage Rates Fall on Powell's Gloomy Remarks (Zillow) - May 13

After falling this week, mortgage rates are at their lowest levels in the last two weeks and remain near all-time lows. The market remains very tight for borrowers with less-than-excellent credit, or for those looking for atypical loans.

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Relaxed Stay-at-Home Orders Spark Last Minute Rally in Spring Homebuying Season (NAHB) - May 13

Spring has sprung, and in just over a month it will be gone without the homebuying season ever taking off, thanks to the coronavirus. But as we head into the final stretch of spring, purchasing activity has started to climb with the Mortgage Bankers Association’s 30-year fixed-rate mortgage contract rate up by 4 basis points from the week before. 

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Pent-Up Demand, Low Interest Rates Spark 11% Jump in Purchase Loan Applications (CNBC) - May 13

Spring may have finally sprung for the housing market. For the fourth week straight, the weekly applications to purchase a home rose.

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Realtor.com Updates 2020 Housing Market Predictions Due to Coronavirus (Realtor.com) - May 13

Realtor.com has released an updated 2020 Housing Market Predictions report with COVID-19 updates, and the results look a lot different than the ones they published in December.

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Colorado Home Prices Stable While Sales, Listings Tank in April (Denver Post) - May 13

Colorado home sales and listings tanked in April, but home prices remained stable. Now, realtors are hoping that the increased demand and lifted restrictions will translate into an uptick in sales.

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Housing Market Recovery May Be W-Shaped. What Does That Mean? (Forbes) - May 13

Home sales may increase through the summer. If the projected winter spike in coronavirus infections hits, however, the country’s housing markets will likely dip again.

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How Will Current Economic Conditions Impact Kitchen & Bath Industry's Future? (NKBA) - May 12

Though some states are beginning to reopen, the Q1 2020 NKBA/John Burns Kitchen & Bath Market Index (KBMI) forecasts a bleak future for the kitchen and bath industry in the coming months.

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N.Y. Home Builders Ready to Dig in Once State Reopens (Buffalo News) - May 12

Home builders in Buffalo, N.Y., are champing at the bit to get back to work. They say everything is in place that will allow them to hit the ground running.

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Builders Offer Innovative Incentives to Drum Up Sales (Realtor.com) - May 12

After homebuyer demand took a nosedive, home builders still needed sales to keep their businesses alive. So they got creative.

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Homebuyers Ready to Rumble in Reopened States, But Sellers Still Unsure (CNBC) - May 11

After months of really getting to know all the limitations of their current homes, homebuyers with the financial ability to buy are back on the prowl for a new house. But sellers are not as eager.

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How Is the Housing Industry Handling States Reopening? (CNBC) - May 11

Virtual showings and video tours are still popular as buyers return to the market, but they want to see homes in person.

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Sprout reaching for sun
By totojang1977

Week of May 3

Listings of Expensive Homes Plunged Faster, Further Than Affordable Housing (Zillow) - May 8

The priciest fifth of homes on the market has experienced the steepest drop in new listings compared to more affordable houses.

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How Buyers, Sellers Are Behaving in 4 Metros Hit Hard by Coronavirus (Redfin) - May 8

Coronavirus hit Seattle, New Orleans, Detroit, and Chicago hard, so Redfin analyzed how the outbreaks affected delistings, new listings, and home sales.

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How Will 15% Unemployment Affect the Housing Industry? (Realtor.com) - May 8

After the worst case of national unemployment since the Great Depression, builders should not expect an off-the-charts rebound.

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5 Post-Pandemic Builder Opportunities in the Next “Great American Move”  (John Burns Real Estate Consulting) - May 8

Once the country reopens, pent-up demand may ignite the “Great American Move,” according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

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Mortgage rates rise from record lows — and signs are emerging that Americans are preparing to re-enter the home-buying market (MarketWatch) - May 8

Mortgage rates remain close to the record lows set a week ago. And that could help move Americans off the sidelines and back into the home-buying market.

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iBuyers Back in Business as Online Real Estate Giants Restart Programs (Forbes) - May 8

When the pandemic started and housing demand dried up, it was not looking good for iBuyers. But after over a month-long hiatus, they’re back and ready to rumble. 

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Signs of Slowing Unemployment; More Than Half of States Had Fewer Jobless Claims for Four Weeks in a Row (National Association of Realtors) - May 7

According to today’s release from the Labor Department, there were nearly 23 million total unemployment claims in the week ending April 25. However, 26 million people filed a new unemployment claim in the previous 5 weeks (from March 15th – April 18th). Thus, more than 4 million first filers likely have already found a job.

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Housing Affordability Down Due to Economic Losses Stemming from COVID-19 Pandemic (NAHB) - May 7

Surging job losses in March stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a decline in U.S. median income and housing affordability in the first quarter of 2020, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released today.

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COVID-19 Changes How You Sell Your Home: Real Estate Lawyer Explains Rule Changes And What Could Be Next In Your State (Forbes) - May 7

COVID-19 hit the home-selling market during the usually robust spring season. Data from Realtor.com shows a big drop in sales and new listings. The outlook for home sales is uncertain and very reliant on shape of the post-COVID-19 recovery.

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The Fall of Sidewalk Lab’s Smart City (Curbed) - May 7

A tech-filled utopia has met its match in Toronto. Economic uncertainty was the final blow to Sidewalk Labs’ plans for a megaproject that would transform the city’s waterfront into a green, smart city with its own trash collection system and heated streets, according to Curbed’s reporting. 

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Consumer Confidence Drops to Lowest Level in Nearly a Decade (CNBC) - May 7

With many Americans facing uncertainty in their employment, health, and everyday lives, it makes sense that they lack confidence in the housing market as well. In April, consumer confidence hit the lowest level since 2011, when foreclosures and economic instability from the housing market crash were still unfolding, according to the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index. 

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Housing Affordability Falls Due to Economic Instability (NAHB) - May 7

Finding affordable housing was already a challenge for many Americans, but spiking unemployment, salary reductions, and slashed hours are making it even more difficult for the average family.

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Is the Housing Market Recovering? Too Early to Tell, Real Estate Consultant Says (Curbed) - May 7

As great as it is that people are looking at homes online, that does not necessarily mean they’re looking for a home or are ready to buy.

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How Long Will the Pandemic Delay Housing Construction? (Joint Center for Housing Studies) - May 7

Housing demand may be bouncing back, but builders will still face major hurdles in the coming months as they try to regain their pre-coronavirus speed ....

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Builder sitting down
By Tomasz Zajda

“Pent Up Demand” Drives Growth in Homebuyer Interest for Third Straight Week (Realtor.com) - May 7

After spending so much time at home, some Americans are itching to move into a new one. “Pent-up demand for homebuying” drove buyer interest up for the third straight week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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How Do Builders Move Forward Post-Pandemic? (Bisnow) - May 7

CohnReznick Director Steve Friendman advises builders to sell unsold properties and lease them back for cash, apply for loans, and not renew lots that they do not plan to build on soon.

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Mortgage Activity Shows Signs of Homebuyers Returning to Market (CNBC) - May 6

When the pandemic first began in the U.S., it was overwhelming. But now, there are signs that people are ready to begin purchasing homes again. 

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Traffic, Demand Up for Major Online Real Estate Companies (Washington Post) - May 6

Knock on wood, but homebuyers and renters may finally feel comfortable enough to jump back into the housing search. Requests for showings are up, virtual traffic is increasing, and demand is bouncing back.

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Using Drones in Residential Construction May Become More Popular (NAHB) - May 6

More and more home builders are embracing technology to help keep their businesses running amid the current COVD-19 pandemic. Teleworking when possible, online closings and other services, and increased private showings were all cited in a recent NAHB survey of builders.

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How home builders remain safe during COVID-19 (Chron) - May 5

Scott Frankel, Co-President and Principal of Frankel Building Group, never thought he would be addressing a worldwide pandemic and in all his job site training, social distancing never came up. His company had to adapt and adapt quickly.

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Is There a Future for Denser Housing Post-Coronavirus? (New York Times) - May 5

Crowded apartment elevators and public trains probably make the list of places Americans don’t want to be right now, but the need for affordable housing, better public transportation, and denser living will not go away.

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Strategy planning on a game board way forward
By Olivier Le Moal

Top 10 Cities With Sharpest Drops in Home Listings (Realtor.com) - May 5

It isn’t just the housing markets of large cities such as San Francisco that are feeling the pandemic's pressure. Rust Belt cities, Midwestern mainstays, and New Jersey are seeing a huge drop in listings.

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Pandemic Pushes Number of Listings Down in April (Realtor.com) - May 5

April is usually spring's poster child, thanks to the rainy days, blooming flowers, baby birds, and a flurry of housing market activity. But instead of the giant jump in home sales, the number of new homes in April fell.

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Home Builders, How’s Your Supply Chain? (Pro Builder) - May 4

Home builders in states where construction is deemed essential are plodding along with projects, but if parts of their supply chain are imported or located in states under lockdown, they’ve had to adjust their sourcing.

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Coronavirus will shrink US home prices by 2-3% nationally, Zillow forecasts, but deeper dive could be in store (CNBC) - May 4

Home prices have only fallen nationally once since the Great Depression, and that was following the subprime mortgage crisis and the Great Recession. Now, barely eight years after hitting bottom, and after a mighty recovery, prices are predicted to fall nationally again, down 2-3% this year, according to Zillow. 

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New iPhone App Could Take 3D Virtual Home Tours Mainstream (Realtor.com) - May 4

Before, users needed an over $3,000 camera to capture a high-quality scan with Matterport software. But now, this app will give clear, accurate results from a smartphone.

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Applying for a Mortgage? Good Luck! Coronavirus Has Made It Harder To Qualify (Realtor.com) - May 4

It's a stark good news, bad news story. The good: The lowest mortgage rates in recorded history are motivating many would-be home buyers and refinancing homeowners to seek out a loan. 

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Zillow Predicts Drop in Prices, Full Recovery by End of 2021 (Zillow) - May 4

The housing market will recover, but Zillow forecasts that it will take until the end of 2021 to be back to 2019 levels for prices, home sales, and sale volume.

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Aerial of homes
 By trongnguyen

Week of April 26

Post-COVID-19 Market Environment for Construction Products (Home Innovation Business Lab) - May 1

While in most states home construction has been considered “essential” in our COVID-19-restricted economy, that doesn’t mean that all things have been “business-as-usual.” Quite the contrary. 

Read More

 

How COVID-19 has changed the mind of potential homebuyers (HousingWire) May 1

Despite the uncertainties of the current pandemic, some people are still shopping around for homes.

Read More

 

How Has the Pandemic Affected the Luxury Housing Market? (Redfin) - May 1

A nationwide pandemic may not be the best time to spend a few million dollars, and it’s showing in homebuyer and seller activity in the luxury housing market.

Read More

 

Young and Restless: Meet the Growing Families Rushing to Buy Homes (John Burns Real Estate Consulting) - May 1

Now that sales are creeping up, builders are already seeing a trend: Clients tend to be young, first-time buyers or growing families that are experiencing cabin fever.

Read More

 

Despite the Coronavirus, Home Prices Are Still Rising—for Now (Realtor.com) - May 1

Home sellers can take heart. Despite the fervent wishes of buyers, home prices are ticking up during this coronavirus crisis—instead of down.

Read More

 

Charting the Trends in the Current Housing Market (Redfin) - April 30

In our weekly market update, Redfin reported home-buying demand continued to recover last week, as states began making plans to begin to reopen businesses. Here are five additional charts that illustrate the latest developments in the housing market as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. Additional charts and local data are available for download in the Redfin Data Center

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5 ways the coronavirus could affect home prices (National Mortgage News) - April 30

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index released this week reflected relatively stable housing activity through February. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak in March will not be revealed in cold, hard stats until those numbers are released in late May.

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Filling out application
By foxyburrow

Mortgage Rates Hit New All-Time Lows—and They May Fall More (Realtor.com) - April 30

There is at least one bright spot for home buyers, sellers, and owners amid the economic mayhem brought on by the novel coronavirus. Mortgage interest rates have fallen to a new record low, a boon to homeowners who may want to refinance and save money, and buyers (if anyone feels like buying a home right now).

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Builder Confidence in the 55+ Housing Market Drops Significantly in First Quarter on Coronavirus Pandemic (NAHB) - April 30

Builder confidence in the single-family 55+ housing market sank 30 points to 38 in the first quarter of 2020, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ 55+ Housing Market Index (55+HMI) (Figure 1). This is the lowest reading since the fourth quarter of 2012.

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Buyers Outnumber Homes As Housing Market Stages a Comeback (Redfin) - April 30

After homebuyers pulled back during the height of the pandemic, demand is slowly recovering. Though sales are still below where we expected them to be at this time of the year, they seem to be on the rise after dropping as much as 34 percent below pre-coronavirus levels.

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Will Housing Availability Improve? Homebuyers Increasingly Say Yes (NAHB) - April 30

The number of homebuyers who expect their housing search to become easier in the coming months hit 25 percent, the highest Q1 reading in three years.

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Where Does the Housing Market Stand in Current Market Conditions? (Realtor.com) - April 30

Though buyer demand seems to be returning, the housing market is still not out of the woods. A whopping 85 percent of realtors have seen a decline in homebuyer interest ...

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Will Real Estate Markets Revive After States Reopen? (Realtor.com) - April 30

All eyes are on Georgia, Texas, and Colorado as they begin to reopen. Will the markets rebound, or will the economic slowdown’s effects linger?

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Reopening America: A state-by-state breakdown of the status of coronavirus restrictions (CNBC) - April 30

Across the country, states have shut down businesses and ordered people to work from home if they can and stay indoors as much as possible to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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How the Pandemic Will Affect the Remodeling Industry in 2020 (Joint Center for Housing Studies) - April 30

After already expecting a decline in 2020, the remodeling industry is expected to take an even bigger hit this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Washington home builder moves buying process online due to coronavirus (Komonews) - April 29

 

It's the busiest time of year for New Tradition Homes. Staff tell us that didn't change under the stay-at-home order.

They've sold 100 homes since that went into effect.

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Tiny Homes: Fad or the Ultimate Social-Distancing Solution? (Realtor.com) - April 29

As Americans living in cities struggle with population density, some experts speculate there will be a rise in demand for suburban homes. But will the pandemic inspire people to escape it all in a tiny home? 

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Where Will the Real Estate Market Go From Here? (Point2 Homes) - April 29

Point2 Homes surveyed 259 real estate agents about the impact of coronavirus on their current business and the forecasted effects for the future.

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Pending Home Sales Sank 20.8% in March (NAHB) - April 29

After hitting 3-year high in February, pending home sales plunged sharply to its lowest level in March since May 2011, as coronavirus pandemic shut down most economic activity.

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Homebuyers Confront Credit Crunch as Coronavirus Puts Lenders on Edge (Redfin) - April 29

As the coronavirus pandemic sends shockwaves through the U.S. economy, banks are fighting financial uncertainty with tightened mortgage lending standards, making it harder for house hunters to get their hands on home loans. 

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Pa. Construction Will Resume May 1 With Intense Safety Protocol (Construction Dive) - April 29

After shutting down all but essential construction in Pa., Gov. Tom Wolf has announced that residential construction may resume on May 1. But the new safety protocol goes beyond social distancing.

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Capitol Building Harrisburg
By asafaric

 

Pending home sales tank nearly 21% in March, but Realtors claim prices will hold up (CNBC) - April 29

Home sales took a deep dive in March as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the economy and homebuyers and sellers pulled out of the normally busy spring market.

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Mortgages Application Surge May Signal Return of Homebuyer Confidence (CNBC) - April 29

Need a midweek pick-me-up? The housing market is showing early signs that it could be making a comeback as the weekly mortgage application volume rose 12 percent. Though buyers are likely responding to low interest rates, it may also signal rising homebuyer confidence, especially as refinancing applications fell at the same time. 

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Businesses creak to life as Colorado’s stay-at-home order lifts (Denver Post) - April 28

Glimmers of normal life twinkled ever so faintly in parts of Colorado on Monday as the state became one of the first in the country to lift its stay-at-home order.

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February Case-Shiller Results & March Forecast: Last Look at The World that Was (Zillow) - April 28

Today’s reading of the Case-Shiller home price index for February – the last before the data begin to show effects of the coronavirus outbreak – offers a final look at a housing market that was primed for a stellar spring selling season.

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How Is Demand Responding to Current Housing Market Conditions? (Realtor.com) - April 28

With all the signs of economic slowdown, it does not take an industry expert to know that the coronavirus is negatively impacting home sales. But getting a handle on the entire impact of the virus on the market is a bit more complex. 

Read more

 

Top 15 Housing Markets Most At-Risk From Coronavirus Fallout (Forbes) - April 28

Florida and New Jersey housing markets may have an even worse 2020 than the rest of the country's markets, according to a new study by ATTOM Data Solution.

Read more

 

Why Are the Suburbs Trending During the Pandemic? (CNBC) - April 28

Some housing professionals believe that the suburbs will be hot commodity post-pandemic, and the trend is already playing out as home sales creep back up after tanking down to just 15 percent of normal activity earlier in the month, according to CNBC reporting.

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Home prices were gaining serious strength just before coronavirus shutdown, up 4.2% annually per Case-Shiller (CNBC) - April 28

Home prices were not only gaining in February, the gains were increasing steadily. Nationally, prices were 4.2% higher annually for the month, up from a 3.9% gain in January, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

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Homebuyers Cautious Even Before Coronavirus' Full Economic Impact (NAHB) - April 27

For the sixth consecutive year, fewer Americans are planning on buying a home in the next 12 months than the year before, according to NAHB's latest Housing Trends Report. 

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How Will Home Prices Fare in the Next 12 Months? (Realtor.com) - April 27

A question on many builders’ minds right now is where home prices will go in the next 12 months, especially with the volatility of the market due to the coronavirus. Though specific markets’ forecasts vary by location, many realtors are leaning towards prices dropping, but not dramatically. 

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New Home Sales Bolstered by Renters Escaping Dense, Urban Apartments (CNBC) - April 27

Late March and early April were brutal for home sales as they fell 85 percent below the same time last year by early, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. But now home builders are seeing a bump up in activity as that number shrinks to 65 percent below last year. 

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NAHB Updates Job Site Coronavirus Safety Guidance for Construction (NAHB) - April 27

The Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) has published important updates to its guidance for construction employers, employees and contractors on coronavirus exposure prevention, preparedness and response. NAHB is a key member of CISC.

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Rise in Online Apartment Shopping Hints at Rental Recovery  (Forbes) - April 26

Maybe we have reached the “Googling new apartments for fun” stage of quarantine, but the spike in activity on RENTCafé may also reveal a renewed interest in renting, especially when coupled with the website’s latest survey results. Though RentalCafé’s activity decreased in mid-March, declining up to 25 percent from March 11-17, April numbers are much stronger. 

Read More

Young man with mask builder
By Leszek

NAHB’s Response to COVID-19, Supporting Builders

Recent weeks have seen growing concern and economic stress related to novel coronavirus mitigation efforts, including social distancing. The recommended strategies will continue to place large sections of the U.S. economy on pause through mid-April, and potentially much longer. With a growing number of individuals altering their work schedules and working from home, construction and manufacturing are experiencing disruptions as well.

Read the full response here.

 

COVID-19 SURVEY:

After two weeks and more than 1,500 responses to our coronavirus business impact survey, here's an update on how home builders, remodelers, and contractors are managing the crisis.

Read full results here: Week 2

 

Week of April 19

Wash. Gov. Inslee Relaxes Construction Limits (Capitol Press) - April 25

As a first step to reopening Wash. state, Gov. Inslee has announced that home construction will resume. As long as Wash. workers can follow the new social-distancing rules, home builders can continue work on projects. But if companies violate social distancing or other safety protocols, they risk being shut down again. 

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Home Price Growth Slowing Down, but Not Dropping—at Least Not Yet (Realtor.com) - April 25

As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, it continues to take a toll on the housing market, as home price growth continues to soften and the number of new homes for sale plummets, according to the most recent realtor.com® data.

Read More

 

Total Jobless Claims Reach 26 Million as Housing Data Weaken (NAHB) - April 24

Due to government-imposed shutdowns connected to COVID-19 mitigation, new jobless claims continued at a high, although slightly diminished pace this week with 4.4 million more unemployed. Over the past five weeks, the total number of jobless claims has reached 26 million, implying an unemployment rate of at least 11%.

Read More

 

Gallup: Only 50% of Americans Believe It’s a Good Time to Buy a Home, an All-Time Low (Realtor.com) - April 24

Only 50% of Americans said that now is a good time to buy a home, according to a survey of roughly 1,000 people released Friday by polling firm Gallup. That represents the lowest share of Americans to have a positive view on the country’s housing market in the time that Gallup has tracked people’s sentiments on real estate.

Read more

 

Will the Pandemic Accelerate Millennial Homeownership? (HousingWire) - April 24

With unemployment claims at record highs and much of the economy struggling to get by, the concept of the coronavirus pandemic actually increasing Millennial homeownership may seem far-fetched. With a closer look, however, the claim starts to make sense: Trading co-living for a single-family home and mobility for stability seem like logical moves after living through a national health crisis.

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HBI Extends Free Online Learning Resources for Students (NAHB) - April 24

Now that the pandemic has extended long past many expectations and some students will not physically return to school this year, HBI is extending access to its free online resources through May 31.

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How Builders Are Adjusting to the New Normal (Culpeper Star Exponent) - April 24

Before the coronavirus pandemic, managing a construction site was already a full production. But throw in new safety measures, local limitations, and the headache of ensuring only one team is on site at a time, and a project turns into a Level 10 game of Tetris that no one wanted to play. 

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Pa. Home Building Slated to Reopen on May 1 (Philadelphia Inquirer) - April 24

Though home builders were federally designated as essential workers, local governments can make their own rules regarding what sectors can stay open. After a month of many building projects put on hold in Pa., all public and private construction sites can reopen on May 1 as Gov. Tom Wolf works to cautiously reopen some segments of the economy. 

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Home-buying Demand Strengthens Despite Stricter Lending Standards, Inventory Shortage Looms (Redfin) - April 24

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.

Read More

Sign wash hands
By ronniechua

 

Gallup: Only 50% of Americans believe it’s a good time to buy a home, an all-time low (Market Watch) - April 24

Americans have quickly soured on the prospects of the nation’s real-estate market as the coronavirus pandemic has swept the country.

Only 50% of Americans said that now is a good time to buy a home, according to a survey of roughly 1,000 people released Friday by polling firm Gallup.

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Six Charts That Show the Latest Trends in the Housing Market - April 24

Home prices are holding up and demand is strengthening, but new listings continue to drop as the coronavirus outbreak takes a toll on the economy, according to the latest market data. Plus, condos are getting hit the hardest.

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New home sales plummeted in March as onset of coronavirus pandemic made buyers wary of signing contracts (Market Watch) - April 23

Sales of newly-constructed homes in the U.S. sank 15.4% on a monthly basis in March to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 627,000, the government reported Tuesday.

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COVID-19 paused the housing market. What happens next? (Curbed) - April 23

The economic fallout from the spread of COVID-19 has put the housing market in the United States on pause.

New home listings have dropped precipitously. Mortgage lending has gotten even more strict, making it harder to get a home loan.

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Is Housing Demand Bouncing Back? (CNBC) - April 23

In an unexpected but very much welcome turn of events, pending home sales recently flipped positive after plummeting nearly 40 percent below the same time last year in early April. Though the pending sales are still 32 percent lower annually, the uptick may represent the beginning of the market's recovery. 

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Housing Demand Up, But Sellers Still Cautious (Redfin) - April 23

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. 

Read more

 

Workers at Risk As Builders Struggle to Enforce Social Distancing Protocol (Texas Monthly) - April 22

Now that home building is essential and many builders can continue their projects, those who choose to stay open for business are facing a new battle: keeping their workers healthy and safe. Though project managers post social distancing and safety guidelines, many are finding that their teams are not taking the virus seriously, according to builders in Texas. 

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How Is the Coronavirus Affecting Building Product R&D? (NAHB) - April 22

Although the relative success of the housing market’s pivot to online tools and innovative ways to close on houses are stealing headlines, a much more common trend for the housing industry, especially for building product manufacturers, is to pull back. Manufacturers are cutting costs, putting innovative projects on hold, and hunkering down to weather the economic storms. 

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90% of Remodelers Report Decrease in Inquiries, Homeowners' Willingness to Remodel During Pandemic (NAHB) - April 22

The coronavirus’ impact on the remodeling business is substantial, according to a recent NAHB survey. Over 90 percent of remodelers report a decrease in project inquiries and the general willingness of homeowners to remodel at this time. Other major concerns include the supply of N95 masks, the overall willingness of homeowners to interact with the crew, and cancellations and delays of projects. 

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Frozen Spring Season Shows Signs of Life Despite Major Setbacks (Zillow) - April 22

This spring buying season will never be as robust as the housing industry had hoped going into 2020, but Zillow’s latest housing metrics show possible small signs of increasing activity. Though new listings plummeted by nearly 40 percent year-over-year in mid-April, they have slowed down their descent and are trending upwards, according to Zillow. 

Read More

 

How to Adjust Your Social Media Strategy for an Isolated Audience (Pro Builder) - April 22

In times of crisis, many business owners’ initial reaction is to cut back on the marketing budget. It makes sense to plan for uncertain times ahead, but for home builders across America, there has never been a better time to invest in your social media marketing. 

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Will There Be Another Housing Market Crash? (Realtor.com) - April 22

Housing experts point to a few factors such as the low inventory and better mortgage loan practices as evidence for why this time around will be much different than the Great Recession. 

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10 Ways the Pandemic Is Changing Future Home Design (Realtor.com) - April 21

Though stainless steel has been a modern fan-favorite, brass is more bacteria-resistant. Too much “open concept” design in a home could become a nightmare if you’re sheltering in place with a large family. And a mudroom isn't just a cute extra room to store muddy athletic gear—it is now a place that could keep pathogens traveling on the bottom of shoes out.  

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Modern Pantry Mudroom
victor zastol'skiy

Existing Home Sales Underperform in March, But Homes Still Selling Fast (CNBC) - April 21

Homes are still selling fast, thanks to the low inventory, but activity has definitely slowed down as sellers pull homes off the market, optimism declines, and the industry navigates the new world of nearly all-virtual sales. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, says that it will most likely get worse, with sales dropping as much as 30 to 40 percent.

Read More

 

Home Builder Will Pay 6 Months of Mortgages for Healthcare Workers, First Responders (Daily Morning News) - April 20

One home builder in Texas, Megatel Homes, has an unusual plan to drum up sales: The company will pay the first six months of mortgage payments for first responders and healthcare workers ...

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States With the Most Jobless Claims During the Coronavirus Pandemic – 2020 Study (SmartAsset) - April 20

Since mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic has intensified, there have been four straight record weeks for jobless claims filed in the U.S. – a fact that increases economic uncertainty and makes it difficult for Americans to save adequately.

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What Should You Do If Your Jobsite Has a COVID-19 Case? (Michael Best) - April 20

With diligent preventative measures and a rock-solid COVID-19 response plan, a case of the coronavirus on a job site does not mean a general contractor must close down a project. Keeping calm, communicating, and using proven tracking strategies can go a long way. 

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Should I Buy a Home During a Pandemic? (Redfin) - April 20

Troves of historical real estate data show that spring and summer are the busiest times of the year to buy a home. But 2020 has brought plenty of new questions about what will become the new normal. If you’ve been thinking about buying before the pandemic, you’re probably trying to figure out if right now is the right time – because of travel limitations, job security, home inventory, or all of the above.

Read more

 

Are Virtual and Third-Party Inspections the Key to Solving Construction Delays? (NAHB) - April 20

Some cities are turning to virtual and third-party inspections as a workaround to the project bottlenecks caused by unwillingness of workers at local building departments to perform inspections. Though not the norm, 20 percent of respondents to a new NAHB survey said that their local government is now allowing virtual inspections due to the coronavirus.

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Where Will Home Prices Drop the Most Amid Coronavirus? (CNBC) - April 20

While virtual tours have been the life preserver that the housing market needs to stay afloat, the market is still drifting further away from its earlier success.

Read More

 

Resiliency and Rebirth During a Black Swan Event (John Burns Real Estate Consulting) - April 20

Emile Haddad, CEO of land developer FivePoint Holdings, believes that builders will get through this crisis. Why? Because builders have struggled through bankruptcies and local business shutdowns before, and they have come out smarter. He’s seen that builders had already been cautiously balancing their expenses recently even prior to the virus. 

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Single-Family Rentals Well-Positioned for Rebound Post-Coronavirus (National Real Estate Investor) - April 20

Though the single-family rental sector is hurting now due to late rent payments, industry experts believe that the sector will be ripe for a rebound when the economy begins rebuilding.

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New Home construction
By Michael Flippo

 

Builders Foster Collaboration Over Competition to Weather Current Market Conditions (Construction Dive) - April 20

American life completely changed in the course of a month, and for builders, it is a time to come together to figure out to navigate this new world. As essential workers, builders can continue working in much of the U.S., but the job site has its own challenges as teams adapt to new safety protocols, including social distancing. 

Read More

 

New Mixed-Use Development Puts a Spin on 'Work From Home' (Forbes) - April 19

Work from home takes on a whole new meaning at Mission Lofts, a new mixed-use development that rents spaces to small businesses and residential occupants. Here, tenants can conduct business, live in a single bedroom apartment, or use the space for both. 

Read More

 

Week of April 12

March 2020 Foot Traffic Report (National Association of Realtors) - April 17

Homebuyer traffic plummeted in March 2020 in the midst of a full-blown coronavirus pandemic that was declared a national emergency and result in stay-at-home orders in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. 

Read More

 

New Survey Finds That 25% Of Renters Are Now Struggling To Pay Rent Amid Coronavirus Crisis (Forbes) - April 17

In the wake of Coronavirus, many people worried about how their going to make their next housing payment. However, in particular, a new survey from Cleaver Real Estate shows just how precarious the situation is for landlords and tenants, many of whom have found themselves on opposing sides of this issue.

Read more

 

Buying A Home During The Pandemic? Don’t Expect Your Everyday Home Purchase (Forbes) - April 17

Homebuyer demand may have waned in recent weeks as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone entirely. In fact, according to Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index, over half of Americans still say it’s a good time to buy a home. 

Read More

 

Work from Home, Private Showings Most Common Responses to Market Conditions (NAHB) - April 17

The coronavirus may be disrupting American life in a way the country has not seen in recent memory, but the latest NAHB survey highlights builders' resiliency in the face of adversity. A majority of businesses are allowing employees to work from home when possible, according to the survey. 

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How Is the Coronavirus Affecting the Latest Home Prices? (Realtor.com) - April 17

Though home prices have not taken a nosedive yet, growth has definitely slowed down amid the worsening economic conditions and shrinking homebuyer demand. Home prices hovered just 0.8 percent above the same time last year, a fraction of the growth seen in the beginning of the year. 

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Homebuyer Demand Shifts Toward Less Dense Rural Markets (CNBC) - April 17

As the highly transmittable coronavirus rips through communities across America, an increasing number of homebuyers are trading city dreams for country life. The driving factor? Urban areas have been hit the hardest so far due to their dense populations. This uptick in rural interest is a huge shift from prior preferences for urban houses, according to Glenn Kelman, the CEO of Redfin. Along with the rise of virtual tours, this is just one more way the coronavirus is reshaping the housing industry. 

Read More

The Home Closing Process Amid Coronavirus: The Seller's Guide to How Long Will It Take (Realtor.com) - April 17

Selling your home during the coronavirus outbreak is no easy task. So if you've managed to find a buyer and accept an offer despite these challenging times, congratulations! You're almost there. All that's left is to close the deal.

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New Study Finds Unchecked Construction Activity Could Triple Austin’s Coronavirus-Related Hospitalizations (Construction Dive) - April 16

Construction work has been deemed essential by the federal government, but a new study in Austin, Texas, found that keeping construction sites open could come at a cost. The study, commissioned by the city, found that keeping the job sites open while nearly all other businesses are closed could triple the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations of the general population from 10,000 to 30,000. 

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Architects Forecast Change For Design In Wake Of COVID-19 (Forbes) - April 16

Many deep thinkers have argued the Novel Coronavirus has changed the U.S. and the world forever. Among them are leading architects, two of whom recently weighed in with views on how their industry will be forever altered in the wake of the pandemic.

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How Natural Disasters Have Helped Prepare the Housing Industry for Coronavirus (CNBC) - April 16

Though most builders and realtors have never had to contend with a global pandemic before, they are no strangers to adversity. The coronavirus is not the same as a hurricane or tsunami, but the lessons housing professionals learned during natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey are proving essential to navigating the current chaotic economic landscape.

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Post-Closing Appraisals Now Possible for Certain Borrowers, Thanks to New Emergency Rules (Forbes) - April 16

To alleviate the challenges faced by homebuyers during the coronavirus pandemic, borrowers with good credit seeking a mortgage loan can now defer appraisals for up to 120 days after closing on a property, according to a joint statement from The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. 

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Messaging That Matters Right Now (Pro Builder) - April 16

In this moment, your potential buyers’ “home” is where they’re living out their own personal version of the movie Groundhog Day, and as uncertainties continue to roll out, your marketing message has never been more important. Screen time is up, you have your buyers’ attention, and while marketers in other industries scramble to stay relevant, you’re in an interesting position. Homebuilders hold the keys (literally) to a genuinely better future. So what should you be saying right now to inspire buyers to choose a future in one of your homes?

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Sobering March Housing Starts Still Outperform 2019 (Zillow) - April 16

March housing starts were down 22.3 percent from the month before, which is the largest drop since 1984, according to Zillow. This pullback comes as no surprise, but March did bring one glimmer of hope. 

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How Many Homebuyers Would Move Into a Home Without Stepping Foot Inside? More Than You’d Think (PR Newswire) - April 16

Before the coronavirus pandemic, buying a home you have never stepped foot in before sounds like a choice in a game of “Would You Rather.” However just under one-fourth of buyers would now feel comfortable closing on a home that they’ve only seen digitally, according to a Realtor.com survey of 1,300 consumers. 

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Home Sales Projected to Fall by Nearly 15% in 2020, Fannie Mae Reports (Market Watch) - April 16

Fannie Mae’s projected nearly 15 percent drop in home sales for 2020 is another reminder of the challenges to come. But the report also brings hope: Housing prices will likely remain stable, and if the pandemic is contained soon, the company expects the housing market to bounce back in 2021. 

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5 Charts Showing Coronavirus' Effects on Home Sales (Redfin) - April 15

The overall health of the housing market is a far cry from the start of year’s optimism: Properties are spending more time on the market, home prices are stagnant, and pending sales are in free fall as they plummet 54 percent year-over-year, according to Redfin. See Redfin’s five charts that show where the housing market stands today. 

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Builder Confidence Plummets in Historic Decline (NAHB)  - April 15

Builder confidence dropped 42 points in April in the largest decline in the index’s history and the lowest reading since 2012, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. For the first time since June 2014, builder confidence fell into negative territory, hitting 30 on the index. 

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Construction worker using gun
By highwaystarz

Twins Cities Housing Market Goes Live Online (National Mortgage News) - April 15

FaceTime is no longer just for long distance relationships or calling your Nonna. Now, it’s more likely than ever that it is your client on the other end of the smart phone. In Twin Cities, Minn., the locals have seen a marked shift toward digital tools that reflects the nationwide trend amid the coronavirus. 

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You may be able to lock in a low mortgage rate for a longer period of time amid the coronavirus outbreak (Business Insider) - April 14

If you're trying to buy a home during the coronavirus pandemic, the experience is probably more stressful than you'd anticipated before the outbreak began.

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5 Ways to Virtually Show Your Home in Today's Market (Realtor.com) - April 14

Like happy hours, family gatherings, and conference calls, open houses are back ononline, at least. Many realtors and builders cannot show their houses in-person due to the coronavirus, but 3D modeling, virtual staging, and live streams are coming to the housing industry’s aid. 

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Will the Housing Market Bounce Back After the Coronavirus? (National Mortgage News) - April 14

We are just half way through the month of April, but as buyer traffic dwindles and layoffs abound, it already feels like we’ve had a year’s worth of stress. Good news? The full effect of the coronavirus on the housing market will not last long, according to Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

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How Far Will the $1200 Stimulus Check Go for Homeowners and Renters? (Redfin) - April 14

A much-needed $1200 will be hitting qualifying Americans’ bank accounts pretty soon, thanks to the Cares Act, a stimulus bill directing the country’s coronavirus relief. For some, that check will cover almost everything they need for the month.

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How Do You Sell a Home Safely During the COVID-19 Crisis? Here Are the Steps To Take (Realtor.com) - April 13

Selling a home can be a headache. It often takes longer and costs more than you think, and it can be an emotional drain. That’s in normal times. Selling a home during a pandemic will add a slew of new safety concerns to the mix.

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Here’s why it’s suddenly much harder to get a mortgage, or even refinance (CNBC) - April 13

Mortgage rates have fallen back to recent lows, and though homebuyers aren’t exactly banging on the doors during the spring housing market amid the coronavirus crisis, there are some hardy ones out there in the hunt. And there are still plenty of current homeowners who could save money through a refinance.

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What Can Builders Market During a Pandemic? Try Empathy and Security (ProBuilder) - April 13

There’s COVID-19 messaging on your website and you’ve sent emails to customers and other stakeholders assuring them that your model homes and design centers are open by appointment, and you’re practicing social distancing and taking other measures to protect the health of employees and the community. But if many home builders and other businesses are doing the same thing, and customer email inboxes are overloaded with similar messages, how does your brand stand out? 

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Will Home Building Rebuild After the Coronavirus? Financial Analysts Say Yes (CNBC) - April 13

Buyer traffic may be down and business may be slow, but home building will likely resume its role as an economic stronghold after COVID-19, according to analysts at Raymond James. The investment banking company says that if the virus is contained soon, the inventory shortage will actually stabilize home values while the housing industry reaccelerates, CNBC reports.

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Construction trade unions take different approaches to keeping workers safe during pandemic (Construction Dive) - April 13

Once it was obvious that the coronavirus outbreak had become a major threat in the United States, local and state governments began shutting down businesses they deemed nonessential. But even then, most construction work was considered essential in many areas of the country.

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How the Mortgage Industry’s Cash Crisis May Hurt Borrowers (Realtor.com)  - April 13

Although the Cares Act provision that allows borrowers to delay mortgage payments is great for those who would otherwise have to foreclose on a home, servicers are starting to feel the strain as they must continue to make payments to investors ...

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By Rawpixel.com
By Rawpixel.com

Week April 5

Colorado State Bans In-Person Home Showings, But Real Estate Is Still Essential (Denver Post) - April 11

Mark Colorado down as a no-show: After initially allowing in-person home showings, Colorado has banned them in an effort to keep those with asymptomatic coronavirus infections from spreading the disease. The state had already prohibited open houses, but now it is paring down real estate, which is still considered an essential business, to only its most essential parts. 

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Ways Home Builders Can Manage Material Availability Risk (ProBuilder) - April 10

The coronavirus has dominated the news, plagued the stock market, and afflicted the global supply chain. Factory output in China, Italy, and Japan has plummeted as some plants have been, and remain, closed while others are operating at greatly reduced capacity—and the full impact of the global supply chain disruption has yet to be felt. 

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Twin Cities single-family construction holds up in March (National Mortgage News) - April 10

Homebuilders in the Twin Cities kept the construction spigot open during March amid growing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Economic Outlook: Layoffs Continue but Virus’ Growth Rate Slows (NAHB) - April 10

The wave of jobless claims continued this week with 6.6 million new claims, raising the total to over 16 million over the last three weeks. These numbers support our forecast for an unemployment rate that will temporarily rise to at least 13%. However, internet search trends suggest that next week’s data will show a lower level of jobless claims. 

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NAHB Survey: Buyer Traffic Down Across the Board (NAHB) April 10

As the coronavirus continues to slow down the economy, the effects become increasingly apparent in each NAHB survey. In the organization’s week 3 survey of the coronavirus’ impact on the single-family housing market, 96 percent of respondents said that buyer traffic is down, up from an already high 93 percent last week. 

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HDTS Special Report: Projected strength in residential markets set to be derailed by global pandemic (AIA) - April 10

Residential construction is traditionally one of the most closely watched markets in our economy. Homebuilding has historically been an accurate leading indicator of economic cycles, both for heading into a downturn, and coming out of one. This sector also gives an early indication of how severe a downturn is likely to be. 

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Borrowers Struggle to Secure Loans Amid Mortgage Market Instability  (MarketWatch) - April 10

After earlier ups and downs, the mortgage rates this week have been comparatively stable. But for now, potential homebuyers are still having trouble securing mortgage loans. Between delays processing applications and the variation of actual rates seen from Freddie Mac's average, getting a mortgage loan even with record-low rates is turning out to be a headache.

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Mapping the coronavirus impact on US construction

With limited federal guidance on whether construction is deemed an essential service, it's important to identify where the state in which you're doing business stands on the matter and to ensure there are not county or municipal variances that go against the grain of the state's order.

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More Homebuyers Are Making Offers After Viewing Homes Virtually (Redfin) - April 9

One-third of home-tour requests made by Redfin customers last week were for agent-led video-chat tours, up from less than 1% during the first week of March. Of the offers signed last week, 12% were signed by customers who had toured the home they made an offer on via video—about double the prior week’s share, and up from close to zero at the beginning of March.

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Surprising Resilience in Home-Buying Demand Despite Job Losses and Coronavirus Spread (Redfin) - April 9

The U.S. is confronting what is likely to be the deadliest week so far in the coronavirus outbreak and with over 10 million new unemployment claims over the past two weeks the backdrop for the housing market is fairly bleak. 

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Builder Frowning
By auremar

Virus Now Impacting Traffic for Nearly All Builders (NAHB) - April 9

In the third week of NAHB’s online poll, the coronavirus’s impact on traffic of prospective buyers has become almost ubiquitous.  A full 96 percent of respondents said the virus was having at least some adverse effect on traffic, and 72 percent characterized it as a major adverse effect.

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Invitation homes CEO on renter protection amid the coronavirus crisis (CNBC) - April 9

Renters are having trouble paying monthly rent as coronavirus-related layoffs continue across the country. Dallas Tanner, Invitation Homes CEO, discusses how the nation’s largest single family rental REIT is helping.

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First Year-To-Date Price Decline in March for Building Materials Since the Great Recession (NAHB) - April 9

Prices paid for goods used in residential construction decreased 0.8% in March (not seasonally adjusted) according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The year-to-date decline in residential construction inputs prices is the first January-to-March decrease since the Great Recession.

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Coronavirus Impact: New Listings Fall Sharply as Spring Home Shopping Season is Set to Begin (Zillow) - April 9

Early spring is typically a time when sellers put homes on the market en masse hoping to take advantage of the surge in buyers entering the market after shaking off the winter doldrums. But this year, new listings dropped significantly in March and early April as the U.S. coronavirus outbreak took hold. 

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New Jersey Ceases Work on Non-Essential Construction Projects to Prevent Coronavirus Spread (GlobeSt.com) - April 9 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Wednesday that all non-essential construction work is to cease on Friday, April 10 at 8 p.m. as a means to limit the spread of COVID-19

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NAHB Webinar: How to Keep Buyer Traffic Flowing Despite COVID-19 (NAHB) - April 9

NAHB is putting together a webinar that will give builders tips and tricks on how to manage their marketing strategies. A bigger marketing budget may be out of the question, but figuring out the best way to still reach customers on a smaller budget can keep traffic flowing and prevent a complete loss of momentum. Register for the webinar at NAHB.

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Buyers Face Delays, Sellers Pull Homes Off the Market, Realtor.com Reports (Realtor.com) - April 9

In the beginning of the coronavirus’ spread in the United States, the housing market remained relatively stable. But now as we approach the third month since the first confirmed case, the housing market is showing definite signs of strain.

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How the Rise of Digital Strategies Is Keeping the Housing Market Alive (Washington Post) - April 9

With real estate agents getting creative using video tours and other digital tools, homebuying during COVID-19 is starting to feel a little bit like a long distance relationship. There are still some hurdles in the digital homebuying process such as obtaining employment verification for a mortgage and getting an appraisal, but realtors are also finding digital workarounds for those seemingly in-person processes.

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6 Charts That Show Where the Housing Market Stands Now (Realtor.com) - April 9

It’s almost a no-brainer that fewer Americans are applying for mortgages or putting their home on the market in this economic landscape. But some of Redfin’s other findings may surprise builders. For instance, homes are spending less—not more—time on the market than last year, and sellers who still have had their homes on the market are not slashing prices quite yet. It is unclear what the long-term effects of COVID-19 will be on the industry, but these six charts by Redfin show how the housing market is faring now.

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Homebuying in the Age of the Coronavirus (Curbed) - April 9

From a turn toward digital tools to a dip in buyer activity, similar themes are popping up in housing markets across the country. But the virus is not affecting all housing markets exactly the same, and the real picture is more complicated than looking at national numbers alone. 

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Zillow Market Pulse: April 8, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak continues to negatively impact mortgage application activity, particularly in states with high case counts. A large number of renters failed to make their April payment last week. And discussions around still-unresolved issues facing mortgage servicers heated up.

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Mortgage applications decrease due to economic uncertainty (National Mortgage News) - April 8

Mortgage applications decreased 17.9% from one week earlier, as coronavirus-related volatility affected consumer sentiment, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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Redfin reduces agents by nearly half, cuts total workforce by 7 percent (Washington Post) - April 8

Redfin is furloughing 41 percent of its real estate agents and 7 percent of its overall staff because the novel coronavirus pandemic has severely curtailed home-buying and selling this spring.

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U.S. Housing Supply Already Sees Hit From Covid-19 (Realtor.com) - April 8

Housing supply across the U.S. continued to decline sharply in the first week of April, as sellers put their listings on hold and take existing listings off the market in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report by realtor.com released Tuesday.

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Post-coronavirus contingency planning for contractors, owners (Construction Dive) - April 8

One would be hard-pressed to find any construction industry player that hasn't been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While a few U.S. jurisdictions have banned construction work altogether, many more have limited which projects can move forward.

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Bank outside exterior
By Pefkos

Treasury Department Confirms That Paycheck Protection Program Applies to All Small Construction Firms (Construction Dive) - April 8

Good news for builders: Any small construction company can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program regardless of revenue, according to new guidance from the Treasury Department. Before, many builders were concerned that they would not be able to seek a coronavirus relief loan even though they had fewer than 500 employees because their companies made more money than the usual definition of a small business.

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Seattle area's March home prices jumped, before coronavirus outbreak (National Mortgage News) - April 8

A deadly pandemic seemingly did little to slow down Western Washington's real estate markets in March, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

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Weekly mortgage applications sink nearly 18% as coronavirus causes homebuyers to back away (CNBC) - April 8

Consumers are fast losing confidence in this spring housing market, given the economic upheaval from the coronavirus. Higher mortgage rates aren’t helping either.

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5 Top Cities for Working From Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic (SmartAsset) - April 8

With stay-at-home orders keeping many Americans in their house, “work from home” has become a hot topic. Countless articles circulate about how to set up a home office and how to get in the zone while kids and pets play in the background. But the truth is that not many Americans can work remotely: Only one-in-three jobs can be completed at home, and they tend to skew white collar, according to a study by SmartAsset. The study rounded up the top 25 and bottom 25 work-from-home-friendly cities. See how yours stacks up. 

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Growing Number of Homebuyers Cancelling Sales at D.R. Horton, Nation’s Largest Home Builder (Dallas Morning News) - April 7

In the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, sales for home builders held steady despite delays. But now, D.R. Horton, the nation’s largest home builder, is starting to see a rise in cancellations. In March, nearly 1 in 4 homebuyers pulled their orders, resulting in 2,020 cancellations total, up from 1,368 the same time last year.

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Homebuying during a pandemic: ‘We felt like we were racing the virus.’ (Curbed) - April 7

When Alex Ingoglia and Brooke Brady, two recently engaged law school graduates from the Midwest, first planned a trip to Atlanta in March to search for the perfect starter home, they didn’t figure they would need an escape plan. But in the age of coronavirus, even something as seemingly pedestrian as touring homes requires a little more planning.

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How to Use Successful Marketing Strategies During COVID-19 (John Burns Real Estate Consulting) - April 7

With more Americans at home scrolling through their phones than ever, rethinking your digital marketing strategy can help you connect with clients in a new way even as projects slow down or stop: Builders can share “How-To” videos or connect with consumers via social media to keep momentum going forward. The situation is not ideal, but Zach Williams from the digital marketing agency Venveo shares his insights and tips on how to best reach consumers during the coronavirus pandemic and potentially convert eyeballs into sales. 

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5 indicators that will show when the housing market is rebounding from COVID-19 (HousingWire) - April 7

These are dark times. But even in dark times, we are preternaturally prepared to see the end of the tunnel. 

If we are diligent, we will be able to identify the return of hope and light coming back into the American economy. While no one could truly know when we’ll see the end of the coronavirus, we can at least know what signs to look for that the housing market is on the rebound.

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How Are Buyers and Sellers Feeling During the Coronavirus Pandemic? (Realtor.com) - April 7

Both buyer and seller sentiment were down in March, but sellers are particularly wary of how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting market conditions. Just over half of homeowners still think it’s a good time to put their home on the market, a nearly 30 percentage point plummet from February, according to Fannie Mae’s monthly Home Purchase Sentiment Index. 

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Borrower Requests to Delay Mortgage Payments Soar Nearly 2,000% (CNBC) - April 7

Requests to delay mortgage payments jumped 1,896 percent between the week of March 16 and the week of March 30. Those high percentages may be mind boggling, but the fact that many Americans are feeling the strain comes at no surprise: Applications for unemployment claims are at an all-time high, and many local economies are at a near standstill as the country works to slow coronavirus’ spread. 

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Princeton New Jersey Mercer County
By Jin

Which U.S. Housing Markets Are Most Vulnerable to Coronavirus Fallout? (Curbed) - April 7

According to ATTOM Data Solutions research, the coronavirus’ impact will be widespread, but it will not be equal: The Northeast’s housing markets are most at risk, while the West and Midwest will most likely sustain less damage. 

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Which Cities Are Most At-Risk for Coronavirus-Caused Foreclosures? (Realtor.com) - April 7

While stay-at-home orders continue and unemployment soars, the coronavirus is hitting the economy hard. As builders look around, they may be concerned that things are looking a little bit too familiar—as in 2008 familiar. But unlike the Great Recession, experts say that foreclosures will not critically impact housing markets nationwide, thanks to smarter lending and the government freezing evictions for 60 days for many mortgages. Instead, evictions and foreclosures may be more localized in cities in New Jersey or Florida that already struggle with a lack of affordable housing.

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Top Miami-Dade home builder: It’s time to shut down construction sites to fight COVID-19 (Miami Herald) - April 6

One of Miami-Dade’s leading builders, Sergio Pino, issued a public plea Tuesday for the construction industry to shut down construction sites and prevent an outbreak of coronavirus among their workers.

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Homebuilders face confusion over Covid-19 restrictions (The Buffalo News) - April 6

Western New York homebuilders are lobbying state leaders to clarify – and possibly modify – the shutdown restrictions on the industry, freeing them to complete houses they've started or even declaring new home construction as essential.

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Halt in home building has unintended health consequences, builders say (Rochester Business Journal) - April 6

In normal times, the subcontractors working for Faber Builders Inc., would have been spending the next two weeks putting the final touches on a new home for a Rochester couple.

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Coronavirus concerns prompt second construction union to walk off Massachusetts jobs (Boston Herald) - April 6

Nearly 17,000 carpenters and painters are refusing to work at Massachusetts construction sites over concerns for the safety as the coronavirus pandemic escalates and calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to order a statewide shutdown.

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Pa. House Republicans move to allow more businesses to open amid coronavirus outbreak (PA Post) - April 6

Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg are moving forward with plans to allow more businesses in Pennsylvania to open their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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6 Top Cities That May See Home-Price Growth Post-Coronavirus (National Mortgage News) - April 6

Before the coronavirus pandemic, just 1 percent of all markets could anticipate depreciation. Now, one-tenth of them may face decreasing home prices, according to Veros Real Estate Solutions. Despite this sobering reminder of how the pandemic froze what would have been a bustling spring for real estate, Veros predicts that some cities will continue to see strong growth, particularly in the West. See how the coronavirus may impact your city’s home-price growth.

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3D Home Tours Steal the Show Amid Stay-At-Home Orders (Zillow) - April 6

Though potential homebuyers cannot step foot in a house, they are turning toward 3D home tours to continue their search from the comfort of their couch—or their bed, floor, or bathroom, for that matter. In the last week of March, Zillow reported an over 400 percent jump in the creation of 3D home tours from a typical week in February. And homes that have 3D tours receive 50 percent more site visitors and are saved 60 percent more than those without.

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How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Rapidly Reshaping Homebuying (Curbed) - April 6

In just over a month, the coronavirus pandemic forced realtors to find innovative ways to sell homes, including drive-by appraisals, 3D home tours, and agent-led video tours. The industry was already dipping its toes into the digital landscape, but now it must jump in head first—sink or swim. And so far, realtors and home builders are working hard to keep their head above water as the situation changes by the day.

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Young Adults Headship Trends Reversed Pre-Coronavirus (NAHB) - April 6

For the first time in decades, headship rates of young adults ages 25-34 increased in 2018. This was a hopeful indicator that the troublesome trend of rising shares of young adults living with parents, relatives or sharing house with roommates finally reversed. Whether the trend reversal can be sustained through and post the coronavirus outbreak depends on the duration and magnitude of job and income losses faced by young adults.

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Lenders Urge Feds for Cash to Avoid "Collapse" Amid Mortgage Payment Delays (CNBC) - April 6

The Cares Act mandates lenders allow borrowers with government-backed mortgages to delay monthly payments for at least 90 days and up to a year. In theory, deferring mortgage payments in a time of national emergency will help stave off an avalanche of foreclosures, but lenders are deeply concerned about one key detail: They still have to pay bond holders, and many do not have enough cash available.

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By Chan2545
By Chan2545

 

Construction in New York Limps Forward Despite Shutdown Order (New York Times) - April 5

Development has ground to a halt across New York City. Or has it?

After initially deeming all construction workers essential employees as coronavirus inundated the city, New York State reversed course on March 27 and ordered work stopped at most construction sites until at least the end of April.

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Albuquerque housing market 'rocking' — for now (National Mortgage News) - April 5

While the spread of the new coronavirus has wrought havoc all over the world, one area that hasn't been directly effected too much is Albuquerque's booming residential housing market.

At least so far.

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Week of March 29

NAHB Poll: Coronavirus’ Impact on Builders Is 'More Widespread and Severe' (NAHB) - April 3

Builders in every region reported that it is taking longer to get a housing plan review or home inspection and that there is a decrease in workers’ willingness to show up to work.

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6 Paycheck Protection Program Questions, Answered (ProBuilder) - April 3

Although the program is live, some builders are still unsure of some of the details of the PPP. Three builders pursuing loans outlined in the CARES Act weigh in.

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Builders Uncertain But Hopeful While Pursuing Paycheck Protection Program (ProBuilder) - April 3

While the federal PPP offers a ray of hope for builders, many building companies—despite their best efforts—are being left with little choice but to lay off employees  ...

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How Is the Coronavirus Affecting the Housing Shortage? (Realtor.com) - April 3

Now that home building is slowing down due to lower demand and some local construction bans, the inventory shortage is expected to deepen ...

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Residential Construction Adds 2,000 Jobs in March (CNBC) - April 3

Unemployment claims are at an all-time high, but here is some news that might surprise you: Residential construction actually added jobs in March. Though the pace of hiring is expected to decline as projects are delayed or cancelled, the 2,000 jobs added is a bright spot in an otherwise unrelentingly stressful time. Concerned about their workers contracting the coronavirus, some builders are pulling back, but others argue that construction is uniquely suited for social distancing due to its outdoor nature, protective gear, and spaced out workstations. 

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11 Charts That Show How the Coronavirus Is Impacting the Housing Market (Redfin) - April 2

The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are rippling through to nearly every segment of the economy and the housing market is no exception. The outbreak has driven sudden changes in behavior among homebuyers and sellers in the United States, which now has more reported cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world.

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Coronavirus Casts a Dark Cloud Over the Outlook for the Spring Homebuying Season (Forbes) - April 2

The U.S. housing market got off to a bright start this year, but as the coronavirus crisis grips the country, dark clouds are hovering over the spring home buying season. And home sales will likely be much lower than had previously been expected. 

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Home Showings Allowed to Continue in New York, Though Confusion Remains (Forbes) - April 2

Less than two weeks after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered real estate agents to stop showing properties as part of a stay-home order, the state seemed to reverse course late Wednesday and allow showings, as well as appraisal services and home inspections, to continue with social distancing.

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Off-the-Charts Unemployment Stokes Fresh Fears of a Recession. Is a Housing Crash in the Cards? (Realtor.com) - April 2

An unprecedented number of Americans lost their jobs in March as the coronavirus-driven crisis continued to escalate. That's according to the latest unemployment numbers, which are inflaming fears that another recession has arrived and another housing crash may not be far behind.

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Consultant Predicts a Post-Coronavirus 'Construction Tsunami' (Construction Dive) - April 2

President Donald Trump's decision this week to extend the country's social distancing guidelines until April 30 was based partly on data from statistical models that predict the peaks and plateaus of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

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Spark metal working
By visivasnc

 

HUD Issues Mortgage Relief for FHA Single-Family Homeowners (NAHB) - April 2

Effective April 1 for borrowers with a financial hardship that makes them unable to pay their mortgage due to the outbreak, mortgage servicers must extend deferred or reduced mortgage payment options — called forbearance — for up to six months, and must provide an additional six months of forbearance if requested by the borrower. This mandate implements provisions contained in the landmark Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) which President Trump signed into law on March 27.

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5 Emerging Design Trends From Life at Home (NAHB) - April 2

At a time when people stuck inside are posting videos of their dogs jumping toilet paper rolls, home builders may be wondering how they can optimize a home for, well, life at home. Before the pandemic, much of American's daily lives was seeped in a “Go, go, go,” mentality as people rushed from work to appointments, gyms, or another job. Now, many are spending days at a time within their property, and design experts say that this may shape home design to include more multifunctional levels, more storage, and more wellness technology to make sure we don’t wither away on the couch if we ever have to do this again. 

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How Is COVID-19 Affecting the Housing Market Weeks Into Social Distancing? (Redfin) April 2

Two extremes are coming into play during the COVID-19 pandemic: Pending sales are down 42 percent compared to last year over the last seven days, but some committed homebuyers are buying houses without even stepping foot in the home, according to Redfin. It is unclear how long the effects of coronavirus on the housing market will last, but with the push for virtual tours, falling prices, and the success of only the extremely competitive-priced homes, some of the immediate impacts are clear. 

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Housing Shortage Deepens as Coronavirus Pushes Inventory Down (Realtor.com) - April 2

Only time will tell how deeply the pandemic will affect housing inventory, but in most areas, it won’t help, which does not come as a surprise considering the virus is disrupting almost every U.S. industry. Despite the coronavirus' impact, however, Realtor.com says the main culprits of March’s low housing inventory are familiar to the industry: under-building, Millennials starting to buy homes, and downsizing.

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Can Home Builders Lead the Way to Economic Recovery? (NAHB) - April 2

A recent NAHB estimate of the national economic impact of home building shows what builders already know: Residential and multifamily construction can help reshape an economy. According to the report, building just one single-family home generates 2.9 full-time equivalent jobs, provides an average of $86,759 in federal taxes and $42,888 local taxes, and employs a diverse set of professionals in different industries and education levels.

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Builder hiring the youth
 By Vittaya_25

 

Americans Are Still Moving—With Hand Sanitizer, Gloves, and Thermometers (Realtor.com) - April 2

By any standards, the moving industry, like so many others right now, is substantially down in numbers, even if it is considered an essential business. More than 71% of the independent moving companies (not including the big companies) reported a decrease in business since the pandemic spread across the U.S., according to a survey of 300 firms conducted by Hire A Helper, an online market for moving services.

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Is Real Estate Essential? The Department of Homeland Security Says Yes (Forbes) - April 2

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency published a 15-page advisory outlining “critical infrastructure” that includes many housing industry professionals. This doesn’t mean that they must work—companies can still choose to suspend business if they deem the risk of spreading coronavirus too high—but now they have the choice in states that have issued shelter-at-home orders and are following federal guidelines. 

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National Impact of Home Building and Remodeling: Updated Estimates (HousingEconomics.com) - April 1

This article updates NAHB’s estimates of the economic impact that residential construction has on the U.S. economy. These national estimates are designed for use when the impacts on all U.S. suppliers of goods and services to the construction industry—for example, manufacturers of building products—are of interest. The national estimates should not be used to try to analyze economic impacts confined to the state or local area where the housing is built. NAHB maintains separate estimates and models for that (see the Local Economic Impact web page).

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Here’s a Look at a Post-iBuyer Housing Market (HousingWire) - April 1

As we enter into really our third full week of the new normal, I have been fascinated by the steady stream of predictions and pontificators out there. 

Most of the discussions have been questioning whether the industry and markets as we knew them are ever going to rebound. Others have centered around the obvious euphoria that many agents and brokerages are exhibiting now that the iBuyers have halted iBuying.

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San Diego Home Prices Were Among the Fastest Rising. What Now? (National Mortgage News) - April 1

San Diego County's home market started 2020 with prices rising more than any other West Coast market and much of the nation.

Prices in the San Diego metropolitan area had risen 5.1% in a year, as of January, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices reported Tuesday.

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Realtors, Homebuyers Race to Find Innovative Ways to Close Amid Increasing Restrictions (Realtor.com) - April 1

Committing to a home is already one of the most stressful purchases many Americans make. Within the context of a global pandemic, homebuyers are under even more pressure as they scramble to close on a property. In order to soothe buyer fears as best they can, real estate agents are adapting at a rapid pace, signing paperwork in parking lots and finding digital ways to conduct what was a traditionally high-touch process. But even if agents hustle while taking precautionary measures, delays in appraisals and local government procedures remain as additional hurdles in an increasingly complicated affair

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5 Shifting Housing Design Trends Happening Now (John Burns Real Estate Consulting) - April 1

It is too early to say if the coronavirus pandemic has sparked any new major trends in home design, but professionals do speculate that it may accelerate the growth of already up-and-coming trends. One easy example is the shift toward health and wellness, which makes sense after so many Americans are spending an increased amount of time at home. John Burns Real Estate Consulting rounded up the five trends more than 90 realtors are witnessing across 45 metro areas. See if they match what you’re seeing now, or get a sense of where design may head next.

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Man Looking at the unknown
By olly

 

Cities Where the Most and Fewest People Would Benefit from the COVID-19 Stimulus – 2020 Study (SmartAsset) - April 1

President Donald Trump recently signed into law the historic COVID-19 stimulus package worth around $2 trillion. It sets aside $250 billion for direct payments to individuals and families to help them deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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7 Tips From EEBA Builders on How to Adapt During the Coronavirus (EEBA) - March 31

If builders want to give their businesses the best chance during COVID-19, the Energy & Environmental Building Alliance says that they must embrace digital business management tools and virtual ways of communicating with clients. Although some builders will always prefer the old way of doing business, the construction and real estate industries were already shifting towards a more digital landscape: The pandemic is just accelerating the inevitable. But during this trying time, the EEBA advises that builders do not go at it alone. Instead, building each other up and turning towards organization’s knowledge can help professionals in the long run.

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NAHB: Builders Must 'Do Their Part to Flatten the Curve' (NAHB) - March 31

What is considered a big win for many in the industry who are worried about the future of their projects, the Department of Homeland Security designated the construction of single-family and multifamily housing as “Essential Infrastructure Business.” But the NAHB cautions that although it is beneficial to keep builders on the job, professionals must follow coronavirus precautions to “do their part to flatten the curve.” To assist builders navigating uncharted territory, the NAHB released a Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan that includes safety protocol as well as downloads such as a template authorization letter that employees can use if authorities question why they are working. 

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Coronavirus Threatens $35 Million Redevelopment Project in Kentucky (New York Times) - March 31

The Department of Homeland Security may have declared construction an essential business, but the stay-at-home orders shuttering many restaurants and local businesses threaten the redevelopment of some of America’s poorest neighborhoods. In the Louisville Kentucky, the Portland neighborhood was gearing up for a revitalization: Mr. Holland’s Portland Investment Initiative renovated millions of dollars worth of buildings and even commissioned the neighborhood’s first multifamily development in a generation, which rang in at $3 million. But now, Mr. Holland is worried that some of the over 60 properties he bought will remain empty as the restaurants and residents he courted are facing unprecedented times. 

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Uncertainty for Lenders, Future Home Sales Clouds a Strong February Finish (Zillow) - March 39

February pending home sales rose 2.4 percent from January, and they were up 9.4 percent from the same time last year, continuing January’s strong preview to the spring season. But COVID-19 has shifted the path of the housing market as it has with almost every other U.S. industry’s trajectory. Though February’s pending sales were at the highest level in three years, experts believe that a sizable portion of those deals fell through, and rising delinquencies in auto and credit payment in addition to the large number of unemployment applications may spell trouble for the previously healthy mortgage delinquency rate. 

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5 Important Takeaways From the Economic Outlook – Spring 2020 (CIRB) - March 30

Produced by Beacon Economics and released exclusively by the CIRB (Construction Industry Research Board) Report on March 23, 2020, The Economic Outlook – Spring 2020 analyzes the impact of the coronavirus, employment trends, housing and construction, the next recession and more.

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Can Builders Keep Building During Austin's Stay-at-Home Order? (NPR) - March 30

When Austin issued its stay-at-home order last week, it was kind of vague about construction. Some people were confused, and plenty of builders stayed on the job. So, can builders keep building?

No – with some exceptions.

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'Safety' Work Continues for Home Building Business, as Interpretation Over Governor's Order Continues (ABC) - March 30

Sable Homes, one of the largest home builders in West Michigan, received a clarification letter from the Governor's office late last week. They're interpreting it as the work that they're doing is to "preserve the current condition of the project while the order is in effect," which, they believe, is in line with the language in Section 4(b) of the Governor's order.

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Area Home Builders Say Ban on Construction Will Worsen Austin’s Housing Crisis, Force Residents to Live in Unsafe Conditions (CNBC) - March 30

Austin home builders sent a letter Monday to city and Travis County officials asking them to allow residential construction to continue while the Stay Home – Work Safe order is in place.

The order, which city and county officials signed on March 24, prohibits apartment or single-family home construction from continuing.

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Homebuyers Turn to Virtual, Robot, and Solo Tours in the Age of Social Distancing (CNBC) - March 30

Spring may be heating up, but the housing market has cooled way down, thanks to the coronavirus’ spread. But some families still need to find a home, so they’re turning to the digital tools and solo tours more realtors are offering due to the pandemic. Redfin saw an almost 500 percent increase in requests for agent-led home video tours two weeks ago, and the sales of one company that sells lockboxes are rising as more homebuyers seek solo in-person home tours. Even the use of robots is seeing tremendous growth: Instead of agents taking a homebuyer directly around the house, they lead a robot that they can use to show the place and speak directly to the client at a remote location. No, this is not 2050. This is here and now, as the adoption of technology is expedited in these uncertain times. 

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Can You Filter COVID-19 From Indoor Air? (Code Watcher) - March 30

Builders may be wondering if there is an indoor air filtration system that could whisk the coronavirus out of a house, protecting the homeowner. Though a good filtration system could minimize the risk in theory, getting rid of a virus is more complicated than a quick filter switch. The effectiveness depends on the quality of the filter, air speed, home air diffusion, and other factors. But even if the system gets rid of a majority of the virus particles, contact with just one could infect a person. Still, improving indoor air quality still isn’t going to hurt anyoneit is just not the silver bullet. 

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Is All Construction Essential During the Coronavirus Pandemic? (Curbed) - March 30

New guidelines by the Department of Homeland Security deem building as an "essential business." But local rules as well as builder sentiment towards the issue vary. Some construction being essential is clearcut, including hospitals, infrastructure, and residential homes in areas hardest hit by housing inventory shortages. But others such as retail fall within a more gray area. Some builders, though they continue their work, are shifting their schedules or slowing down projects to minimize the risk for their workers, while others continue as normal with a larger focus on social distancing

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Renters Stick to Moving Plans Despite Coronavirus (RENTCafe) - March 30

The coronavirus may be making homebuyers wary, but renters are still looking for their next move. In RENTCafe’s second coronavirus survey, some renters are feeling a little more anxious, but over half still plan to move as soon as they find an apartment. Besides looking for maybe something cheaper, most have not changed the kind of apartment they want or are considering adding on a roommate to lessen the cost—which might not be the best move while the country practices social distancing anyways. Read more to find out the full survey results.

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9 Ways the Coronavirus May Shape Future Housing Design (Housing Design Matters) - March 30

The relationship between Americans and their homes is changing amid COVID-19. Many Americans sheltering in place stay within the same four walls for a majority of—if not all of—the day, and what was once a place to relax and spend time with family when not at work has now become the home office, the gym, and the restaurant. From these shared experiences, Housing Design Matters pulled out nine ways that home design may change in response to the pandemic, including a preference for single family over multifamily and a focus on speciality rooms such as the home office or gym. 

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Coronavirus Is Brewing a Mortgage Crisis (Curbed) - March 30

The financial crisis of 2008 was caused by homeowners defaulting on their mortgages en mass thanks to risky loan products that were destined to fail. The bonds those mortgages were bundled into collapsed in value as a result, and it brought the entire financial system down with it.

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How the Coronavirus Will Change Closings, Home Prices and What’s on the Market (Washington Post) - March 30

We’re only getting one question recently, although it comes in many forms: How will the new coronavirus impact the real estate market?

As of this writing, buyers are still buying homes and sellers are still selling. Sam has received several contracts in a few days, although his office phone isn't ringing as much as normal. Ilyce has been talking to would-be sellers and buyers (and getting plenty of email) suggesting that people want to buy or sell, but they're nervous. So are brokers, title companies and everyone else involved in real estate transactions.

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Which Metros Are Most at Risk of a Coronavirus-Caused Recession? (Realtor.com) - March 30

The United States now leads the world in the number of coronavirus cases, and the numbers continue to rise. Almost no part of American life is unaffected—and most areas will feel the recession that is likely to follow, according to real estate experts. But some areas are taking hard hits right now or are forecasted to suffer due to their links to tourism and vacation rental markets. Realtor.com found the top 10 most at-risk metros and broke down four trends playing out in them, including the expected gambling slump and second-home slowdown. 

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California Real Estate Sales Now Deemed 'Essential' Industry (National Mortgage News) - March 29

The real estate industry, struggling with coronavirus-linked limitations, got a boost with its sales business reclassified as an "essential" industry.

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Heavy equipment at construction site
By ink drop

Week of March 22

A loophole for construction workers shows how arbitrary and confusing ‘stay at home’ regulations are (Market Watch) - March 28

The San Francisco construction contractor with the slate of multimillion-dollar remodeling jobs is maneuvering through the oddest weeks of his career. In early March when the first COVID-19 cases hit California, he said he’d pay workers to stay home if they showed flu symptoms. When six Bay Area counties issued stay-at-home orders on March 16 he told workers to lock up their job sites indefinitely. But when the state of California ordered people to stay home March 19, the contractor learned his 30 crew members were key to “essential infrastructure,” and thus permitted to work.

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DHS Declares Residential Building 'Essential Business,' But States Still Have Own Rules (NAHB) - March 28

In the midst of this chaotic time, NAHB has news that will ease at least one worry on many builders' minds: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just designated construction of single-family and multifamily housing as an “Essential Infrastructure Business.” This means that most home building firms can keep their companies open when the local government closes all but “essential business.” This is especially critical because many contractors are not covered by unemployment benefits. But builders should still keep up with local rulings. Although the DHS made the guideline, states can develop their own standards for what businesses can or cannot continue during the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to roll out new mortgage-payment deferral option for homeowners facing financial trouble (MarketWatch) - March 28

Homeowners who fall behind on their mortgage payments will soon have the ability to defer payments through a new service being offered by Fannie Mae FNMA, -2.99%  and Freddie FMCC, -2.98%.

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Is the Coronavirus About to Wipe Out FHA Lending? (HousingWire) - March 27

It looks like borrowers who don’t fit neatly into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s lending criteria could soon be running out of options if they want to buy a house.

Over the last week, many (if not all) of the biggest lenders specializing in lending to borrowers outside the Qualified Mortgage lending box paused their activities due to uncertainty in the market.

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Key Coronavirus Resources for the Housing Industry on NAHB.org (NAHB) - March 27

NAHB is committed to ensuring members have the resources necessary to navigate the coronavirus pandemic. NAHB continues to provide up-to-date economic forecasts, policy updates, business continuity, jobsite safety and communications resources for both NAHB members and HBA staff to help them navigate this current crisis.

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NAHB Chief Economist Provides Economic Update on Impact of COVID-19 (NAHB) - March 27

Despite the strong start during the first two months of the year, incoming data are now showing the negative effects of the sudden stop for the economy. There were 3.3 million new jobless claims this week as the service sector shed jobs due to government-imposed social distancing related shutdowns. In the week before, there were only 282,000. This is likely the start of a wave of 5 to 10 million newly unemployed in the coming weeks.

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How Is COVID-19 Impacting the Residential Construction Industry? (Principia Consultants) - March 27

Are all the numbers swirling around concerning the coronavirus pandemic stressing you out? You’re not alone. For those who are more visual learners, Principia Consulting analyzed COVID-19's impact on residential construction down to the zip code level and created a map summarizing the projected square footage of new residential construction in 2020. Before the pandemic, the country was projected to see  2.7 billion square feet of new residential construction, but with some builders facing material shortages and “shelter-in-place” orders affecting others, that number is not accurate anymore. The map notes restrictions areas are facing, and the consulting firm plans to update its analysis as the situation evolves. Find out the current projection for your area.

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How Much Will It Cost to Save Americans From Losing Their Homes Amid Coronavirus? (Forbes) - March 27

This one is going to sting: The worst-case-scenario cost to save Americans from losing their homes totals $162 billion, according to the Urban Institute's Housing Finance Policy center. Even if the worst does not come to pass, the most likely scenario would still cost the country billions, ringing in at $40.5 billion to assist 14.6 million households for three months. For comparison, the worst case scenario is if 29.2 million households need assistance for six months. To analyze the impact, the center took into account the unemployment and the price of housing. And as the stimulus bill includes moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures as well as other tenant protections, these numbers are definitely ones to keep your eyes on. 

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Workers and Places Most Likely to Be Affected by a COVID-19 Recession – 2020 Study (SmartAsset) - March 27

In a survey of economists conducted by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business at the beginning of March 2020, more than half of participants expected COVID-19 to cause a major recession

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Department of Labor

 

Managing a Coronavirus-Related Project Shutdown (Construction Dive) - March 27

When a hurricane or other disaster forces the closing of a jobsite, owners and contractors can be reasonably assured that, barring severe physical property damage, everyone will be back to work in short order.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has led contractors, material suppliers and other industry vendors into uncharted waters. Construction companies, for example, in Boston and other Massachusetts cities of Cambridge and Somerville and, to some degree, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, as well as Austin and Travis County, Texas, either are unsure about which projects must be closed or are looking at an indefinite moratorium.

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Stay on the Jobsite (NAHB) - March 27

The safety and health of all those who work in construction remains our top priority. The industry continues to adhere to all public health guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control. Work on a new unfinished home site occurs primarily outdoors and does not involve going onto a location occupied by residents or a public location, and there is minimal (if any) physical or transactional contact with customers.

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Financial Consultant's Advice: Track Your Coronavirus-Related Expenses (WIPFLI) - March 26

From shelter-in-place orders to flip-flopping local essential business definitions, each day provides new mentally taxing challenges. But one financial consultant advises builders to keep their eyes on the ball and track coronavirus-related expenses. Though they may not ever be reimbursed, an expense sheet will help businesses be able to more effectively gauge the impact of COVID-19. By using a ledger or a code system, builders can track the expenses and use them to guide business practices or for bidding in the future.

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‘We’re going to see numbers that are shocking’: Jobless claims top 3.2 million as data on coronavirus toll rolls in (Fortune) - March 26

The first truly jaw-dropping batch of economic data is out, and the numbers are record-breaking.

On Thursday, weekly jobless claims (for the week ending March 21) came in at 3.28 million—not only a drastic uptick from the 282,000 the week prior, but an all-time record, surpassing even the Great Recession peak of 665,000 and 1982’s all-time high of 695,000.

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Record-Breaking Number of  Unemployment Applications Likely Understated, According to Zillow Market Update (Zillow) - March 26

In one week, 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment, shattering previous records for applications in one week: For scope, the highest-ever weekly reading during the financial crisis was 665,000 applications in March 2009. Even more worrisome is that this influx of applications is likely to understate the actual unemployment levels, according to the Zillow Market Pulse for March 26. Many freelancers and contractors, including many in the construction industry, either do not qualify for benefits, or they do not know that they do. Find out more about how this will impact the economy and what central banks are doing to try to relieve the economic pressure. 

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Construction Contractors Are Working to Manage Coronavirus Risks (Zurich) - March 26

Construction crews in many cities continued to raise cranes and swing hammers as much of the world shut down to stem the spread of coronavirus. While Boston and Pennsylvania ordered a halt to most construction projects, some other cities and states designated construction as an essential or crucial sector.

There is debate over the interpretation of government guidelines, and state and city mandates could change. In the meantime, in cities where construction work has continued, it’s not business as usual.

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Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act - Small Biz Highlights (Recast City) - March 26

The Senate passed the CARE bill (as of Thursday afternoon 3/26) and the House is expected to pass it tomorrow.

Here is a brief summary of parts of the Senate bill that relate to small business and unemployment. And some other parts I think are most interesting.

There are many sources out there on this bill, check those too.

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How Will Record Unemployment Claims Affect The Housing Market? (Realtor.com) - March 26

A record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment support—in a single week. Economists say that when a recession happens, it usually builds. But because of the urgency to slow the coronavirus' spread, this time around seems to have hit all at once. The bad news for the home building industry is that people who have lost jobs are not in the market for a brand new home. But on the other hand, the conditions surrounding this downturn and the housing market’s solid foundation before this may lessen the blows. Additionally, the low inventory may have been a blessing in disguise, as experts do not expect home prices to dip too low. 

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Washington Issues Statewide Ban on Construction as Boston’s Moratorium Continues (Construction Dive) - March 26

Unless a Washington builders’ company is involved in essential functions such as healthcare, they will now stay home: Washington issued a statewide suspension of all nonessential construction amid the coronavirus. The rule came into effect on March 25, joining other construction bans put into place to combat the virus. Boston’s moratorium, one of the first enacted, has also been extended, despite the Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker saying it will disrupt critical services. The jury is out if other states will enact similar bans, but housing shortages in states such as California help builders stay essential.

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Flash Survey Homebuyer Sentiment: U.S. Still Optimistic Despite Outbreak (Point 2 Homes) - March 26

 

To gauge homebuyers’ reaction to the outbreak and to see how they feel about the homebuying process and the current changes, we conducted a flash survey of 2,900 visitors that are searching for properties on Point2 Homes, one of the largest real estate marketplaces in North America. We asked about their short-term and long-term buying intentions, about the challenges they are encountering and also about the changes they plan to make.

See full survey results here

 

Coronavirus Stimulus Package: What You Need to Know (SmartAsset) - March 26

About 2.5 weeks after the worst day in Dow history, when the index fell nearly 2,014 points, the Senate has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act, a coronavirus stimulus package.

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Stay-at-Home Orders Put a Hold on the Housing Market (Redfin) - March 26

In just one week, homebuying demand went from holding a 1 percent increase over last year to plunging 27 percent compared to the same time in 2019, according to Redfin. Stay-at-home orders enacted in an effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19 are having a huge impact, and Redfin says that it can be felt most dramatically in heavily impacted states such as California: Overnight, demand dropped after the state's Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order. But a few buyers are still committed to the purchase: Whatever their reason for needing to move immediately, they’re shopping online and signing deals in parking lots to get the closing done.

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Construction Workers Essential to Fighting California’s Housing Crisis (Capradio) - March 25

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the housing industry was facing a different kind of crisis: the housing shortage. And although the virus has unearthed more immediate issues, the lack of both general inventory and affordable housing options remains, especially in California which has historically struggled with housing costs.

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Big Banks Offer Relief to California Homeowners Affected by COVID-19 (American Banker) - March 25

Four of the five largest banks in the U.S. have agreed to let California residents skip mortgage payments for 90 days if they have lost their jobs or are struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

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Coronavirus Relief for Businesses (SmartAsset) - March 25

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of American life, including small businesses. With most Americans practicing extreme social distancing and not going out of the house except when absolutely necessary, many small businesses have a dearth of customers as they navigate the recession.

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Mortgage Applications Fall Amid Coronavirus Fears (Realtor.com) - March 25

Weekly mortgage applications dropped 14.2 percent from last week. In the first year-over-year drop in three months, they were down 11.2 percent compared to last year. Considering the current coronavirus pandemic, potential homebuyers are understandably worried if this is the right time to make their next move. And with mortgage rates wildly shifting, it is hard for homeowners to get a pulse on what kind of rates they can lock in: One week, they’re near record lows, but by the next, they could be at 5 percent.

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Is Building Luxury Condos Essential? (New York Times) - March 25

Construction continues around much of the country despite other industries coming to a screeching halt. It makes sense: Affordable housing is still in dire need amid the coronavirus. But in New York City, the New York Times reports that construction on even luxury condos can continue, putting workers at risk as some sites do not enforce social distancing. Some argue that luxury construction is nonessential—no one needs a luxury condo like they do groceries or a basic place to live. Local governments are now grappling with the question of what is and is not essential construction, and if they want to make that determination. 

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How Are Builders Being Impacted by the Coronavirus? (NAHB) - March 25


During a global pandemic may not be the best time to buy a home, and buyer traffic is reflecting that uncertainty: 81 percent of respondents said that the coronavirus has had an adverse effect on homebuyer demand, according to a NAHB online survey. A total of 46 percent said that prospective buyer traffic is impacted to a major extent, while 36 percent said it has to a minor degree. More than 300 responses flooded in between March 18 and March 23, with two-thirds of them identifying as the owner, president, or CEO of their companies. Find out what other challenges builders are facing in the full survey. 

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Middle Aged Worker Portrait
By Tap10


DFW home construction continues through COVID-19, but builders are wary (WFAA) - March 24

Most residential construction in Dallas-Fort Worth’s previously red-hot homebuilding market is continuing, for now, but builders and developers are taking it day by day.

That’s the new reality as coronavirus cases rise, said Justin Webb, CEO of Rockwall-based production builder Altura Homes.

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Thinking Ahead: COVID-19’s Long- and Short-Term Effects on Real Estate (Forbes) - March 24

Right now, builders are confronting supply shortages and drops in demand as the coronavirus has brought many American’s daily lives to a grinding halt. But Brad Hunter, the managing director at RCLCO, says that builders must confront these immediate challenges while also thinking about what lies ahead. From new fiscal policy, the stock market’s long-term impact on consumer spending, and the virus’ possible resurgence later in the year, keeping the big picture in mind can help builders take steps today that will better prepare them for the coronavirus’ future blows. Jump to the article and find the housing section to find out how residential builders will be impacted.

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How Texas Home Builders Are Weathering the Coronavirus Storm (Statesman) - March 24

Home building in Texas amid the coronavirus continues, but the going is slow: Sales are down, permitting is delayed, and the limitations on the number of workers on site is bringing some projects to a crawling pace. However, builders are making do with what they have, turning toward virtual showings and other digital tools to interact with clients. And due to the successful beginning of the new year, some Texas builders are hopeful that once we are on the other side of the pandemic, it will pick back up again when there is more economic stability. 

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What Builders Need to Know About the New Family Leave Law (NAHB) - March 24

In order to keep Americans healthy while also making sure businesses stay afloat, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act gives companies with fewer than 500 employees funds to give employees paid leave to care for themselves or family members during the pandemic. The law takes effect on April 1, and the U.S. Department of Labor released its first round of published guidance for employers that includes information on how to qualify, obtain exemptions, and calculate hours and wages. Find out if you qualify. 

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Home Builders Can Continue Working, But Prepare for Delays (Dallas Morning News) - March 24

While other businesses close, those considered essential by local governments can continue, including a majority of builders. Not only are builders essential, but some say they are also well positioned to minimize the risk of infection with their protective gear, ability to spread out around the project, and smaller teams, thanks to the labor shortage. They are also taking social distancing seriously and continuing stay-at-home policies when workers are sick. But as they wake up and arrive on site, it is not always business as usual: Material shortages and other delays are beginning to slow projects down. 

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Don’t blame housing — this time the home market hopes to escape the worst of the economic downturn (Dallas Morning News) - March 24

With the economy slamming on the brakes, homebuilders are potentially facing the greatest falloff in business in a decade. That’s a big concern in North Texas, which leads the country in single-family home construction and sales.

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Mortgage Closings at Risk as Coronavirus Shutters Title and Recording Offices (CNBC) - March 24

Only weeks ago, thousands of borrowers were rushing to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates. Refinance applications soared over 400% annually, and homebuyers were out early and in force.

Now some of those loans are stuck in limbo as the in-person closing process can no longer be held because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Real Estate’s Spring Sales Season Slows to a Trickle (New York Times) - March 24

By the looks of things in New York City’s real estate market, spring will be a little late this year.

The spring sales season usually starts to ramp up during March. The typical number of new listings that come on the market in March is 1,780, but only 734 properties have been listed so far this month, according to UrbanDigs, a website that offers real estate data and commentary. The number of properties that have gone into contract this month, at 432, is less than half of the typical March figure, and 430 units were also taken off the market.

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COVID-19 Business Impact Survey: Week 1 (Professional Builder) - March 24

Find out how builders are feeling about project disruptions and measures they're taking amid COVID-19. Nearly 1,000 home builders, remodelers, and contractors have taken the survey so far. Join your peers and take 4 minutes to complete the survey: https://coronavirussurvey.questionpro.com

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5 Ways the Housing Market Is Responding to Shifts in Consumer Behavior (Zillow) - March 23

The coronavirus is changing homebuyer behavior: Realtors are seeing less traffic, demand for virtual home tours is way up, and stay-at-home orders are closing down open houses. But most of the formal data collected so far came before the virus’ effects came into play. Zillow rounded up some of the housing industry's trends during this unprecedented time, including the violent swings in mortgage rates and how lenders are responding. 

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National Association of Realtors Survey Shows How Coronavirus Has Started to Impact the Real Estate Market (Forbes) - March 23

In an effort to get a sense of how the coronavirus pandemic is effecting the real estate market, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been conducting a series of flash surveys aimed at gauging consumer behavior.

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Renters Continue the Hunt for Apartments Despite COVID-19 (RentCafe) - March 23

The coronavirus is disrupting almost every industry and corner of American life. The group seeming unchanged by it all? Renters—at least before many states issued stay-at-home orders, according to a survey by RENTCafe. A majority of respondents said that they still planned to move while just under half had no concerns in particular due to the coronavirus. If the renters did change their plans, a majority are looking for something cheaper. RENTCafe plans to rerun the survey to see if sentiment has changed after stay-at-home orders.

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MORTGAGE application
By Freedomz

 

In Which States Can Construction Continue During Shutdown Orders? (ConstructionDive) - March 23

“Can I go to work?” is a question on a lot of Americans' minds amid COVID-19 shutdowns and “shelter-in-place” orders. The answer to that varies on where builders live and what the local government considers “essential.” If you’re in California or Illinois, feel free to lace up your boots. But if you are Pennsylvania or Masschusets, you’ll have to ride out the storm at home. Find out more about how the coronavirus is affecting construction in your city. 

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5 Things to Know About the New Coronavirus Paid Leave Law (Construction Dive) - March 23

U.S. small businesses and their employees are living through unprecedented times. As the COVID-19 epidemic continues, many are concerned with the day-to-day as state and local governments close or otherwise restrict business operations to halt the spread of the disease.

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Coronavirus: Lockdowns Slow Bay Area Home Construction, Future Projects (Mercury News) - March 23

The coronavirus pandemic has created confusion, delays and uncertainty in housing projects around the Bay Area, despite a crushing need for new homes from an industry deemed essential to work through the regional lock-down.

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How Is the Lending Industry Changing Amid COVID-19? (Forbes) - March 23

Weeks ago, digital may have seemed like the future of real estate. The future is now. After years of dipping its toes into virtual buying and selling, the housing industry is jumping in headfirst to combat the effects of the coronavirus’ shutdowns. In one of the biggest moves yet, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is directing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to take appraisals online to protect appraisers and homeowners from the virus. Appraisers will now be able to virtually assess properties as well as drive-by homes to check out the exteriors. Though the system is not perfect, it is a way to keep the home lending industry moving and making sure homebuyers are not left in the dark. 

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Video Home Tours Rocket Nearly 500% on Redfin (Redfin) - March 23

A pandemic may not be the way the housing industry thought it would enter a digital Renaissance, but necessity is the mother of invention. In just early March, Redfin debuted their virtual homebuying experience to combat the spread of the virus, and last week, the company saw a 494 percent increase in agent-led video home tours. Video tours soared from 0.2 percent of tour requests made to the current 18.9 percent. Once the world emerges on the other side of the worst of COVID-19, it’s hard to say what will happen next for the housing industry. But the CEO of Redfin says that either way, we won’t go back to the way we were before. 

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NAHB Advises Home Builders to Prepare for Supply Chain Disruptions (NAHB) - March 23

Builders who were Boy or Girl Scouts will be familiar with NAHB’s current advice: Be prepared. With quarantines and stay-at-home orders in place, builders may run up against disruptions in the supply chain or with contractor availability. NAHB suggests that they review contracts for escalation clauses that will account for changing material costs due to decreases in supply. Without one, builders, contractors, and suppliers may run into trouble if prices soar and they are unable to recoup the cost. 

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Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Ease Appraisal, Employment Verification Standards (HousingWire) - March 23

The coronavirus pandemic may be making in-person housing appraisals risky business, but instead of bringing mortgage lending to a halt, the industry is adapting. Directed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are relaxing the standards for property appraisals and verification of employment. Now, appraisers can use virtual sources such as property history and drive-by home visits as tools in the mortgage process. Though not ideal, the move will ensure that appraisers can continue to work remotely without risking their health. 

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Loose-Cannon Mortgage Rates Are Giving Homebuyers Whiplash (Realtor.com) - March 23

Even the biggest adrenaline junkie wouldn’t want to ride this coaster: Mortgage rates are racing up only to come crashing down, then hiking up higher than before. Housing experts are saying that they've never seen this kind of volatility before, and those seeking to refinance or lock in a new mortgage may feel a bit whiplash. Rates are changing by the hour some days, and one that a homebuyer sees advertised may not be the one they end up with, even if they rush to apply that day. From the start of the pandemic, the industry has seen rates near 3 percent, where experts say they were forecasted to be, all the way up to five percent.

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Student
By producer​​​​​

 

HBI Rolls Out Virtual Learning Alternatives for Students (NAHB) - March 23

Are you a parent whose kids are going a little stir crazy? Set them up with free lessons in the trades, right at home. In an effort to continue their student outreach, HBI is granting complimentary access to online learning alternatives for local schools and training programs. Requiring no books, the programs are structured for completely online-based study. Students can learn about safety, communication, and interviewing techniques. Find out more about the programs and get a little inspiration from the future leaders of the home building industry.

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California Realtors Told to Stop Home Showings, Open Houses (National Mortgage News) - March 22

The California Association of Realtors told its members Friday to stop all face-to-face sales activities including showings, listing appointments, open houses and property inspections due to coronavirus concerns.

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Week of March 15

How Is the Coronavirus Affecting Home Builders? (Forbes) - March 21

Builders are not strangers to crisis. Just over a decade ago, the housing industry tanked, prompting the Great Recession. But now they face new roadblocks: supply chain disruptions, government shelter-in-place orders, and public fear sparked by the pandemic to name a few. But among it all, the builders’ confidence is still relatively high, and the industry is knee-deep in digital innovation sparked by the coronavirus’ hold on American life. This is not a situation builders want to be in, but the industry is evolving. 

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Will Construction Continue During Coronavirus Shutdowns? (Construction Dive) - March 20

As schools and restaurants close and only essential businesses remain open in many US cities, builders may wonder where they're required to stay at home. So far, construction workers are not barred from work in most locations, even in the hardest-hit states of New York City and California and cities with shelter-in-place orders. Still, the situation across the nation is developing, and some cities such as Boston are shutting down construction projects. As of now, most builders can continue projects, but as the pandemic continues, they should keep their eyes on their city's policy.

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Which Housing Markets Will Feel COVID-19’s Effects First? (Forbes) - March 20

We may not have a crystal ball that will reveal what the coming months have in store, but by looking at the number of showings that are happening right now, builders can get a sense of COVID-19's impact and what markets are most at risk. ShowingTime, the nation’s largest online appointment center for home showings, is tracking the impact of the pandemic, and states such as Florida, New York, and California are all seeing decreased activity. Despite the alarming dip in showings in areas hit hardest by the virus, there are still a few points on our side: Early warnings will help the country prepare for the possible housing downturns and new virtual tools for showing houses could lessen the blow.

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Frame Contractor House
By Tomasz Zajda

 

Lennar Launches Digital Homebuying to Minimize Coronavirus Risk (Forbes) - March 20

Lennar Corp., the largest home builder by revenue, just launched an entirely virtual homebuying experience amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Clients can now digitally request information online, have consultation meetings, attend virtual showings, and seal the deal on a new home. They will have the option to have a private in-home tour before closing, but everything else can be done online to minimize possible exposure to the virus. The innovation comes with a shadow over its launch, however. Just weeks before, Lennar lost one of its employees in Seattle to a coronavirus infection. 

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How the Refinancing Boom May Hurt the Spring Buying Season (Realtor.com) - March 20

The refinancing boom may be contributing to the new home sales bust. Homeowners rushing to refinance with the low mortgage rates are overwhelming lenders, causing delays in processing new mortgage applications and sending out appraisers to assess houses. In an effort to slow down the refinancing bonanza, lenders pushed the mortgage rates up from 3.13 percent to 4.13 percent, even as the Federal Reserve slashed federal interest rates to zero. These setbacks mixed with overall buyer concerns and lender caution may slow down the already stalling new home market. But experts say that lenders still prioritize buyers as they are more reliable customers. Lenders will continue to process new mortgage applications—just at a much slower pace.

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How Will the Housing Industry Fare After COVID-19? (John Burns Real Estate) - March 19

The news is heavy these days. With cities and states with “shelter at home” orders and uncertainty around every corner, it can be hard to conceptualize the end of the pandemic. But it will come. And when it does, the housing market will stand on its feet despite the punches thrown at it this season, according to John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate, and Dean Wehrli, the company’s vice president. They sat down to talk on their podcast about how the housing industry stands now and their forecast for how it will come out on the other side of the pandemic. 

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A Snapshot of the Housing Industry Before COVID-19, According to Redfin (Redfin) - March 19

Stronger than ever, the U.S. housing market was full-speed ahead going into what was forecasted to be a spring buying bonanza. Home-sale prices increased 6.6 percent year-over-year according to Redfin, construction was up, and low interest rates were poised to entice new homebuyers into the housing market.  But then the coronavirus hit the United States, and American life changed in the span of weeks. The housing market slowdown is especially hard for the industry because before this, builders were feeling confident as the market finally picked up after a rocky decade post-Great Recession. But experts at Redfin say that looking back at the start of 2020 might remind the industry where the housing market may return to once the pandemic passes. 

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How Is COVID-19 Impacting the Housing Market Right Now? (Realtor.com) - March 19

As businesses close and many Americans hunker down at home amid COVID-19, fears of how long this may last and if a recession will follow are on the minds of many. With public concern sky high, builders are no doubt wondering how the virus is impacting the housing industry. According to a Realtor.com survey that more than 3,000 realtors took at the start of the week, the virus’ disruption substantial. Nearly 28 percent of realtors are seeing fewer homes on the market due to the coronavirus, 40 percent reported that open houses are on hold, and 16 percent have had clients take their listing off the market--up from a mere three percent the week before. 

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NAHB Advice to Home Builders: Evaluate Your Contracts (NAHB) - March 19

As the coronavirus disrupts supply chains and some cities suspend construction, the National Association of Home Builders recommends evaluating business contracts for clauses that account for delays caused by unforeseen circumstances. Clauses may allow for builders to have more time to complete a project, or it may allow the client to terminate the contract. In order to determine the best path forward in the event of a significant delay, builders must review their specific contract to see what steps they must take, such as notifying the client of the delay, and if the coronavirus fits under the kinds of events covered by the contract. The country may be in unprecedented times, but keeping tabs on contracts can help builders avoid an even messier situation. 

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Man reading contract
By smolaw11

 

Home Sales Could Fall 35 Percent This Spring Amid Coronavirus Pandemic (CNBC) - March 19

The coronavirus pandemic cancelled spring break vacations, shut down spring semesters, and now it seems that it will force the spring buying season back into hibernation. As American’s attention understandably turns to the swirling economic uncertainty, health concerns, and unemployment fears, home sales could fall by 35 percent annually this spring, according to a new analysis by Capital Economics. Though home prices are not expected to fall thanks to low housing inventory, experts still expect a slow buying season as homebuyer and seller caution increases. 

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Why Redfin Is Suspending Its iBuying Program (HousingWire) - March 18

Redfin announced that it will halt its iBuying arm, RedfinNow, due to the housing market’s uncertain direction amid the coronavirus pandemic. This news comes after the company banned open houses to help slow the spread of the virus. Because of decreasing buyer demand and ambiguous market conditions due to COVID-19, Redfin says that it cannot give accurate home value estimates, and therefore cannot make instant offers on properties. The company stresses that it is not ending RedfinNow entirely, but instead is putting it on pause until there is a clear path forward. 

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Apartment Search Traffic Plummets As Americans Prepare for COVID-19 (RENTCafe) - March 18

The search “apartments near me” took a nosedive as the spread of the coronavirus disrupts almost every aspect of American life. Now, instead of hunting for the next big move, people are searching for how to disinfect their homes, set up a home office, or create a new at-home workout routine. This switch in search topics related to housing reflects the overall shift in priorities this past week as businesses shut down offices, restaurants and bars go to take-out only, and students move to e-learning. 

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How Disruptive Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Be to Real Estate? (Point 2 Homes) - March 18

Common sense would say that real estate may not be the first thing on Americans’ minds during a pandemic, and how people are searching online is backing that up, according to Point 2 Homes. Google Trends shows a marked dip in searches related to “real estate,” “houses for sale,” and “condos for sale.” Additionally, traffic to Point 2 Homes' website is also down, falling 35 percent in just one week. And as sellers stop open houses and move to virtual showings, the industry will continue to change. Point 2 Homes has rounded up charts to show the change in search volume as well as professional opinions on the outbreak. 

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Coronavirus' Hold on Housing Market Nearly Nationwide (Redfin) - March 18

Before the spread of the coronavirus, all the housing market's stars were aligned: Builders were confident, demand high, interest rates low, and construction was ramping up as the housing industry prepared for its best season in a long time. No one expected a global pandemic to pull the rug from under not just the housing industry, but the entire nation. Now, after cautious warnings that the housing market may slow down despite holding steady, the effects of the coronavirus’ spread are showing weakened buyer demand as it dropped from 27 percent growth in the beginning of 2020 to one percent in the past week. 

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Removing Dust
By Patryk Kosmider

 

How the Coronavirus May Affect OSHA Compliance on Building Sites (NAHB) - March 18

The coronavirus is disrupting American life as we know it, and the National Association of Home Builders is watching out for two ways OSHA compliance may be affected: masks and injury and illness reporting. Despite health organizations urging those who are not ill to stop stockpiling masks, N95 masks, the unofficial symbol of the coronavirus pandemic, have become scarce. The NAHB warns that builders may have a harder time finding the masks, which are integral to protecting against silica dust, and recommends that builders either use a different mask model or try to reduce the amount of dust created in the first place. And though it is unclear how reporting instances of the coronavirus will go, NAHB says that builders should keep their eye on the changing policy surrounding the virus. 

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February Housing Starts: A Snapshot in Time Before the Coronavirus Storm (Zillow) - March 18

February housing statistics will provide a benchmark to see how the virus’ spread impacts the industry as the country moves forward with quarantines, mandated closings, and social distancing initiatives. Last month ended with less than 1.6 million housing starts, which is down from the previous month but nearly 40 percent up from 2019. Although the spring buying season will most likely pull back from the expected boom, Zillow’s monthly report notes that due to the inventory shortage and low rates, builders may still have opportunities once the pandemic passes. 

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COVID-19 May Curb Spring Buying Boom Despite Low Rates (Realtor.com) - March 18

 We were all set to usher in a successful spring homebuying season with builder confidence soaring, buyer demand strong, and interest rates low. But as they say, the only constant is change, and this shift in direction for the housing market does not appear to be working in the housing industry’s favor—even with rock-bottom mortgage rates. The social disruption due to the coronavirus is a necessary step to try and slow the spread of the virus so the healthcare facilities can keep up, but experts believe that the fallout from public fear and social distancing will put a damper on the upcoming buying boom we had been hoping to see. Still, they say the housing market will not crash as it did in the Great Recession as the market now has high demand and low inventory. https://www.probuilder.com/covid-19-may-curb-spring-buying-boom-despite-low-rates

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Opinion: How Coronavirus Is Already Threatening the Housing Market (MarketWatch) - March 18

As the coronavirus pandemic threatens financial markets and sends the U.S. economy into a potential recession, those of us who lead mortgage firms must take swift action to prepare for the worst. The last time the financial markets suffered such a precipitous drop was during the 2008 Great Financial Crisis.

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Majority of business leaders expect a hit from coronavirus, survey finds. Here’s how they’re fighting it (CNBC) - March 18

CEOs across the globe are coming to terms with the reality that business will be anything but normal over the coming months as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate.

But while revenues are set to suffer a short-term hit, the majority of leaders remain confident that their companies will be back on solid footing within the year, according to a new study on the business impact of the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease’s formal name.

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Redfin, Re/Max and other brokerage firms cancel open houses as coronavirus hits the real-estate industry (MarketWatch) - March 18

Brokerage firms are cancelling open houses and promoting virtual tours of homes as buyers and sellers alike become concerned about contracting the novel coronavirus through the real-estate process.

National real estate brokerage Redfin RDFN, -15.486% is cancelling future open houses, the company announced Monday. The company is also limiting in-person tours of its homes to two customers per tour.

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Majority of Homebuyers Say Stock Market Volatility Has Not Impacted Ability to Buy Home (Redfin) - March 17

The coronavirus has altered America in ways people have never seen before: Entire school systems have closed with no end date in sight, restaurants are going to carry-out only, and family members must virtually visit the sick and elderly to prevent high-risk demographics from contracting the virus. Even the housing industry is changing as it shifts to virtual showings and braces for the hit to the spring buying season. But for now, 70 percent of homebuyers say that the stock market volatility has not yet impacted their ability to afford a down payment, according to a Redfin survey in early March. Most buyers affected are those looking in the luxury market and those who planned to sell stocks to afford a home. 

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How Coronavirus Has Affected Real Estate (New York Times) - March 17

The coronavirus has changed the way we live our daily lives and it has upended countless business sectors, including the New York real estate market. Brokers, buyers and sellers are struggling mightily to do business when it’s anything but business as usual. Open houses are being eliminated, or at least circumscribed; brokers are doing FaceTime apartment tours for clients who are worried about being out. And, in the suburbs, they’re scrambling to find short term rentals for clients who feel the walls and everything else closing in on them in the city.

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Remote Closings, Virtual Board Interviews Keep Real Estate Industry Moving In New York City (Forbes) - March 17

On Monday, as New York City grappled with school and restaurant shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate attorney Steven Matz embarked on uncharted territory for real estate professionals in the five boroughs — a remote closing.

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Shower bidet smart toilet


Can't Find Toilet Paper? It's No Wonder the Bidet Biz Is Booming (Realtor.com) - March 17

As the novel coronavirus spreads germs and fear worldwide, many (either voluntarily or by government decree) are hunkering down at home with a stockpile of household items. Among the most prized? Toilet paper, which, rather inexplicably, has all but disappeared from store shelves.

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Sorry, Millennials: A Coronavirus-Induced Recession Won’t Help You Buy a H ouse (Curbed) - March 17

The 2008 financial crisis brought the global economy to its knees and sent American home prices into freefall. For anyone who managed to hang on to their job, savings, and credit score, the aftermath of the crisis was a prime opportunity to buy a house at a bargain price.

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Home Builder Sentiment Falls, as Coronavirus Begins to Factor in (CNBC) - March 17

A monthly measure of homebuilder sentiment only partially reflected the escalating economic effects of the coronavirus. Sentiment fell 2 points to 72 in March, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. 

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Coronavirus - What Construction Workers Need to Know (Matt Risinger) - March 16

In this Special Edition of the Build Show we are discussing job site working precautions related to COVID-19 (Corona Virus).  My wife is an Internal Medicine Physician and as we have been discussing this outbreak over the past week, she made some excellent points so I've asked her to join me on this video with specific construction work related procedures to reduce risk of infection and the spread of this virus.    

Watch Here

 

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Amid COVID-19? (New York Times) - March 17

With quarantines, school closures, and calls for increased social distancing across the country, we cannot seem to catch a break this week. For homeowners looking to refinance, at least mortgage rates are low. But will they stay there? Just last week, some homeowners rushed to refinance only to find the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage jump unexpectedly, as experts forecasted rates to continue to drop, not rise, amid growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus. Still, economists say that those looking to lock in low rates will not suddenly wake up to sky-high rates. Though they may bounce around the current levels, the rates will  remain low for the time being.

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Paid sick leave: Who gets it during the coronavirus outbreak (Washington Post) - March 17

There’s growing consensus that Americans need to stay home to help prevent the spread of covid-19, especially if they feel sick or have a suspected or confirmed case of the coronavirus that causes it. The health of the nation comes first, experts say, but will workers still get paid?

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Coronavirus Tips
By steheap

 

A complete guide to coronavirus charts: Be informed, not terrified (Fast Company) - March 17

We are in the middle of an information overload about the novel coronavirus, with hourly case updates and endless streams of information. How do you find the signal in the noise? What information do you need to make decisions in the face of this pandemic?

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5 Simple Graphs That Show How This Is Not Another Great Recession (Keeping Current Matters) - March 16

As unemployment claims soar and home sales slow, those who were in business in the late 2000s are probably flashing back to the moment that they realized that the housing bubble had burst. But these five graphs by Keeping Current Matters serve as a reminder: This is not the Great Recession.

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Buyers and Sellers Reverse Expectations for Home Prices During the Next Recession (Redfin) - March 16

Just three months earlier, half of homebuyers and sellers surveyed by Redfin expected home prices to rise during the next recession. Then the coronavirus’ spread began, and now nearly one-third of homebuyers and sellers say they believe that home prices will decline. Still, economists point to previous recessions as examples of where home prices rose, save for the Great Recession started by the housing crash. But when everything is changing around us, it is no surprise that the coronavirus' spread is impacting into American’s perceptions of the housing market. 

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HA braces for virus, warns of potential bottlenecks as demand grows (National Mortgage News) - March 16

The Federal Housing Administration is making coronavirus adjustments while warning of possible delays as the industry anticipates a new wave of borrowing due to the Federal Reserve's latest policy measures.

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Social distancing likely to affect physical mortgage closings (National Mortgage News) - March 16

Even as mortgage application volumes climb, the physical ability for those loans to close could be in question as authorities call for social distancing to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

While electronic closings are a possible solution, they run into state law impediments such as the permissibility of remote notaries.

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Confronting COVID-19: Social Distancing, Buildings, and Lessons from Asia (Urban Land) - March 16

Communities around the world are racing to control the spread of the novel coronavirus and the disease that it causes, COVID-19. Increasingly, that means implementing aggressive social distancing measures, which can inhibit the spread of the virus and flatten the transmission curve.

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Half of U.S. Workers Expect COVID-19 to Harm Workplace (Gallup) - March 16

 As U.S. employers rapidly adapt their workplaces to avoid further community spread of COVID-19, American workers offer a mixed assessment of how the disease will affect their place of work. Half say COVID-19 will have a negative effect on their company or workplace -- either very (18%) or somewhat negative (32%) -- while 50% say it will not negatively affect their workplace.

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COVID-19 and Real Estate: With Caution, the Business of Selling Homes Goes On (Forbes) - March 16

In residential real estate, some buyers always need to buy and some sellers always need to sell. Amid escalating concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the New York real estate business is pushing the pause button, but not the stop button.

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Federal Reserve Bank
By Xiongmao

 

Fed Slashes Rates to Near-Zero and Unveils Sweeping Program to Aid Economy (New York Times) - March 15

With the fast-spreading coronavirus posing a dire threat to economic growth, the Federal Reserve on Sunday night took the dramatic step of slashing interest rates to near-zero and unveiled a sweeping set of programs in an effort to backstop the United States economy.

In addition to cutting its benchmark interest rate by a full percentage point, returning it to a range of 0 to 0.25 percent, the Fed said it would inject huge sums into the economy by snapping up at least $500 billion of Treasury securities and at least $200 billion of mortgage-backed debt 'over coming months.'

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Fed Moves to Bolster Housing Markets (National Association of Home Builders) - March 15

As more segments of the economy shut down over the weekend in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Federal Reserve unleashed a round of monetary policy stimulus, including the purchase of $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities and $500 billion of Treasuries.

Among the other moves was a cut in the federal funds rate to a top rate of 0.25%, reducing the discount rate from 1.25% to 0.25%, and boosting liquidity by slashing the reserved requirement for banks. 

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Week of March 8

6 Ways the Coronavirus Outbreak Will Affect Construction (Construction Drive) - March 13

Three words stand out to construction attorney Steve Lesser when thinking about how U.S. contractors should react to the negative effects of the global coronavirus pandemic: Wait and see.

Lesser, the chair of Becker’s construction law practice, said he thinks the best thing for contractors to do is nothing at all, as the fallout from the effects of COVID-19 on the U.S. is far from complete and no one can predict its full impact.

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Hand Sanitizer Bottle
By zephyr_p

 

Advice for Home Builders During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Home Builders Network) - March 13

Al Trellis, president of Home Builders Network, gives his suggestions for how builders can respond to the pandemic and an example of a preliminary policy by a mid-sized home builder.

“Several of our clients have reached out to us about our opinion regarding the Coronavirus. Here are our thoughts: 

1. The full impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has yet to be determined. While the public’s anxiety is sky high, the facts are far from clear. The percentage of people who will be infected, the true fatality rate, and even the actual length of the contagion period are all still uncertain. The best strategy for now is to listen to reliable information sources (CDC, WHO), and, based on the facts as they become clearer, create policies and procedures for your employees and trade partners regarding work conditions and personal safety (attached is an example of such a policy). It is important that senior company personnel set a good example and remain calm and objective. As much as we all want to “do something”, at the moment we really need more clarity as the situation develops."

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If the Pandemic Triggers a Recession, What Will Happen to Home Sales? (Realtor.com) - March 13

It wasn’t a trade war or the fallout from Brexit that ended the longest bull run in the history of the U.S. stock market: It was the unforeseen impact of COVID-19. Even though the coronavirus has cancelled major sporting events, flights, and shutdown schools, bars, and restaurants, would a downturn, if there is one, caused by this pandemic, be worse than the Great Recession?

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11 Ways to Adapt to Short-Term Disruptions in Consumer Behavior (Do You Convert) - March 13

The dip in the stock market and shifts in consumer behavior may be alarming, but instead of panicking, one marketing expert in the housing industry says to adapt to these short term disturbances caused by COVID-19’s spread. Thais Cuffy says that the volatile market is a reasonable response to the pandemic, and that by watching how consumers want to interact during this stressful time can give clues on best practices, such as offering virtual appointments or upping video content so potential buyers can see homes without stepping foot inside. By keeping an eye on consumers, builders and realtors can better navigate the housing market's changing landscape.

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How Will the Coronavirus Affect Spring Buying Season? (Realtor.com) - March 13

The spring buying season was cruising toward a robust performance due to the lowest mortgage rates on record and a strong job market, but the economic volatility and caution surrounding the coronavirus pandemic may dampen the forecasted success. The National Association of Realtors expects a 10 percent term drop, a complete turnaround from the anticipated growth before the virus started its worldwide spread. Though the housing market so far has been less affected than other industries, the anxiety surrounding the pandemic is already causing buyers to pull back: 11 percent of realtors reported lower homebuyer traffic in an NAR survey. 

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Woman in the rain
By Yakobchuk Olena

 

Mortgage rates jump back up to January high, as coronavirus fears put chill on spring housing market (CNBC) - March 13

After falling to a record low just two weeks ago, mortgage rates are surging higher again. This as real estate agents try to deal with a new normal in what was supposed to be a busy spring housing market.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed fell to 3.13% on March 2, the lowest ever recorded by Mortgage News Daily. That rate is now back up around 3.65%, as yields on mortgage bonds rise and lenders keep rates higher as a way to handle overwhelming refinance demand.

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Mortgage markets returning to normal after freezing up during a volatile week (Denver Post) - March 13

U.S. mortgage rates spiked earlier this week and the entire market clogged up on Thursday, but by Friday things were flowing again after the Federal Reserve stepped in with the financial equivalent of a giant toilet plunger.

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Coronavirus dampens homebuyer interest: NAR (CNBC) - March 13

CNBC’s Kelly Evans discusses the challenges the housing market faces amid the coronavirus pandemic with Diana Olick.

"This weekend will be a good gauge of how buyers are reacting. But they lose that great benefit. Mortgage rates hit a record low two weeks ago, but moved sharply higher in the last two days now back up to January levels."

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Buying a Home During a Pandemic (New York Times) - March 13

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.

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Americans Are Split Over Coronavirus’ Impact on the Housing Market (Redfin) - March 13

About 40% of Americans anticipate that the recent spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, will have a negative effect on the housing market, according to a new survey conducted by Redfin.

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Mortgage Rates Rise, Reacting to Refinance Rush (The Washington Post) - March 13

As measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus intensify and investors flee the stock market, one might assume that mortgage rates would plunge further. But on Thursday, the 30-year loan mortgage rate defied expectations, rising to 3.36 percent from a previous 3.39 percent. The move comes as a deterrent to refinancers as lenders struggle to keep up with the rates bonanza: Refinancing applications climbed 79 percent from last week, which spurred the Mortgage Bankers Association to double its previous volume forecast for 2020. But as the pandemic puts pressures on the travel and tourism industries and continues to rock the market, the future path of rates is uncertain.

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Open House Sign
 By moodboard

 

How the Coronavirus Is Changing the Way We Sell (Realtor.com) - March 12

Shut the front door: Open houses are on hold. In Seattle, ground zero for the U.S. coronavirus outbreaks, home sellers are turning to virtual showings to sell their houses, according to Realtor.com. Or, if they do have an open house, it is a more solemn affair full of disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and potential buyers walking as if they have an invisible barrier around them. Though the housing market remains stable among the outbreak, cities impacted by the virus are seeing a dip in demand—even as interest rates are lower than ever.

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New York Real Estate Hit by Coronavirus, Market Decline (CNBC) - March 12

Plunging stocks and coronavirus fears are starting to hit the New York City real estate market.

Forty-four open houses had zero traffic last weekend, according to Fritz Frigan, executive director of sales and leasing at the New York residential real estate brokerage Halstead. Those 44 empty open houses represented 13% of all open houses, up from 9% two weeks earlier.

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Housing Demand Holding Steady Amid Coronavirus (Redfin) - March 12

Though the long-term effects of the coronavirus on the housing market are yet to be determined, Redfin says that housing demand on its site is holding steady with healthy growth. Though demand has pulled back slightly as the stock market dips, low interest rates seem to be keeping some buyers interested, according to a Redfin survey. But demand in Seattle and San Francisco has dropped, an important detail for what may happen in cities where the virus spreads next. For now, however, the demand in the rest of the country seems to be continuing its growth into the spring buying season.

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Mortgage Rates Driven to Historic Lows by the Coronavirus Amp Up Homebuyer Purchasing Power (Redfin) - March 11

A dramatic drop in mortgage interest rates, driven by coronavirus fears, has given homebuyers a big boost in purchasing power in recent weeks. At the current mortgage interest rate of 3.2%, a homebuyer with a $2,500 monthly mortgage budget could afford to purchase a home priced $51,250 higher than in March of 2019 when rates were 4.4%.

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Residential neighborhood aerial
By arinahabich

 

Week of March 1

Can the housing market withstand the coronavirus? (HousingWire) - March 3

Logan Mohtashami suggests, “...The housing market is strong enough to handle a short term hit to global demand.

Where do we go from here?

For now, I recommend focusing on the positives, rather than falling prey to the fantasies of gold bugs and survivalists. The next six months can produce some terrible economic headlines, but don’t ever forget we are a strong, proud, hard-working people and we won’t take this lying down. 

Here are three things we can do as a nation in response to this short-term, albeit, horrific virus outbreak: 

  1. Institute an instant payroll tax cut to help prepare families for a possible economic downturn and to assist with any extra costs associated with virus prevention. 
  2. Provide an open-ended emergency assistance fund for businesses, self-employed workers, local government agencies and individuals who have incurred costs or financial hardship due to the spread of the virus or containment measures.  
  3. Government funding to pay for all COVID-19 related medical bills including quarantine costs. Free tests for those with symptoms and free vaccines when they become available.”

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Cleaning surfaces and disinfecting
By asiandelight

 

How to Coronavirus-Proof Your Home—and Your Life (Realtor.com) - March 2

In just a few weeks, the new coronavirus has made serious inroads into American communities, even as its global death toll grows. Many health experts are saying that the opportunity to contain the spread of the virus is over; now, it's time to do what we can to mitigate what the World Health Organization is now deeming a pandemic.

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Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak on U.S. Real Estate Markets (RCLCO) - March 2

In this issue of the Advisory we look at the likely impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on U.S. real estate markets overall and by sector. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects the outbreak to continue spreading in the U.S. and says it’s likely to become a pandemic. While we’re optimistic that the U.S. economy and real estate markets will weather this crisis as they have many others, we also believe it’s important to be prepared for all possibilities.

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