REAL Trends Steve Murray: The Housing Market is Coming Back
By Steve Murray, REAL Trends President
As of May, we already see signs that housing will be one of the economy’s sectors that lead the way back. Looking at the earliest indicator—showing homes for sale—leads us to conclude that families’ desire to adapt housing to their particular needs remains unwavering.
Thanks to ShowingTime, we can see the downward and upward progression of showings in the past several months. We looked at the results for Connecticut, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, and California. In each case, showings bottomed out in late March to early April and moved up sharply through the rest of the month. Some are only slightly below or even from where they were a year ago.
This won’t help closings in May, which will likely be the trough for housing sales, or June, which may be relatively anemic. But, the significant increase in showings bodes well for July and beyond. This still doesn’t address the low inventory issue that we’ve been dealing with for the past four to five years in most markets. Many brokerage firms, MLSs, and state and local associations of Realtors® report a rise in the number of sellers taking their homes off the market due to fears about people being in their homes or a sense that this may not be the best time to sell a home. Both of these issues will likely fade somewhat by summer.
Let’s remember some basics. Virtually every study about consumer attitudes about homeownership remains positive whether the source of the study is an industry group or some outside survey or research firm. Generation Z, Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers still desire to own a home. Secondly, based on the 2018 Harris Insights/REAL Trends/California Realtors® study, consumers think using a Realtor is smart. Some 90% reported they used a Realtor to purchase or sell a home in 2018 (up from 85% from the same research in 2014), and 92% of Millennials and Gen-X said they used a Realtor.
These fundamentals seem to remain intact. Even amid the challenges of Covid-19 and the shutdown of the economy, families were lining up to look at homes for sale. While nearly 20% of American workers are out of work as of this writing, it also means that 80% of Americans are still at work. As the economy recovers from what will be the worst quarter in U.S. economic history, more consumers will be ready to buy housing that fits their needs as the year goes on.