Number Of Signed Contracts Falls In March

The impact of coronavirus mitigation efforts becomes more clear as March home sales numbers are released. Both new and existing home sales declined after stay-at-home orders were put into place mid-month. Now, the National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index shows that the number of contracts to buy homes also suffered significant declines. In fact, pending sales – which refer to contract signings, not closings – were down 20.8 percent month-over-month in March. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, says falling sales are a temporary problem. “The housing market is temporarily grappling with the coronavirus-induced shutdown, which pulled down new listings and new contracts,” Yun said. “As consumers become more accustomed to social-distancing protocols, and with the economy slowly and safely reopening, listings and buying activity will resume, especially given the record low mortgage rates.” He may be right. Surveys taken over the past few weeks have shown increasing interest among Americans hoping to buy and sell homes. They've also shown prospective buyers and sellers have a willingness to adapt to necessary changes to the typical buying process.

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