CINCINNATI — The housing market is beginning to take a hit thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, with some parts of the country seeing lows comparable to the Great Recession.
Stay-at-home orders and widespread job loss has made it harder to buy and sell homes overall. Despite spring typically being one of the busiest times for the real estate market, it's taking a turn as COVID-19 disrupts the market.
Realtors with Sibcy Cline in Florence and Robinson Sotheby's in Cincinnati said they're using gloves, masks and shoe covers when they show homes -- which is rare.
Mostly, they're doing virtual showings. When they do have an in-person tour, the number of people allowed is limited.
"You have a lot of people that had their homes on the market, listed as we were coming into the spring time, usually the busiest time for real estate… because of the fears of COVID-19, a lot of them withdrew their properties from the market,” said Brian Tiffany, a realtor with Robinson Sotheby International Realty.
Around one month ago, home sales in Cincinnati were the best they've been seen since 2006, according to Cincinnati's Board of Realtors.
"By the end of the month, I can see less ‘SOLD’s," said Brooke Roscoe, realtor with Sibcy Cline's Florence office. "This is such a life changing event, I don’t think that you can push people to wanna buy or wanna sell right now.”
At the end of last week, Realtor.com reported the number of new listings across the country was about 30% less than the amount on the market this time in 2019. Roscoe said her office had 25% more listings this March than they did last March, but the month of April promises to be a different story.
What was trending as a seller's market may now be flipping to a buyer's market, as inventory declines and buyers become scarce. But, like the trends of COVID-19, the trends of the housing market overall are tough to predict.
"It's hard to predict, just like we don't know exactly when this is going to end," said Tiffany. "We end every conversation with, 'Well, let's see what happens next week.' It's just the way it is right now."