Supply is down, demand TBD

Dated: April 19 2020

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There’s a lag of four to six weeks between most of the real estate activities affected by the pandemic and when they are publicly reported. That’s both because the numbers are reported month-by-month and because time passes while a house is on the market and going through escrow. So far, we’re only seeing the first wave of pandemic-affected numbers—how many properties are now listed for sale. Later we’ll learn how many houses have gone into contract since the pandemic began, and later still how many actually sold, and for what price.

The number of new listings was lower in March than it would have been without COVID-19, but the sky isn’t falling. In March of 2019 in LA County just over 2,000 new listings went up for 3-bedroom homes; this March it was just over 1,500. Only 900 were newly listed last December, before we went through the looking glass.

Real estate values are a function of supply and demand. So far we see reduced supply, which will tend to support level or rising prices. In the short term at least, we can anticipate reduced demand, because so many people’s employment has been disrupted. I expect that prices will be trending downward this year, and I still say that the best time for buying or selling is when the time is right in your life.

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DAVID DUNLAP

As a residential real estate executive with an extensive background in corporate marketing, I am able to apply unusually strong skills in marketing communications, e-marketing, strategic planning and ....

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