Will Covid-19 Cause Values to Fall

Clark County Housing Market

Weekly Interim Report

You will NOT read this in the paper

April 6, 2020


This interim special weekly report is to provide updates to the rapid and ever-changing housing market caused by the Covid-19 crisis.


As you know, buyer activity is the most current information we have on the status of the Real Estate Market. The market has been unusually robust in 2020, led by strong buyer activity until just a few weeks ago when the Covid-19 virus began to affect our national markets. 

Before this latest report out just today, we saw buyer activity over 3 weeks time (measured by lockbox openings) drop almost 70%. I know I make typos from time to time (and thank you for your patience) so let me repeat that. We have seen a 70% drop in buyer activity in 3 weeks until one week ago. 

As you can see from the chart below, this past week buyer activity remained fairly level from the prior week. The Inslee showing ban lasted just one week and was lifted just over a week ago. So it became legal again for agents to show homes. And the good news is that the State is perhaps just past the top of the curve in cases and deaths from Coronavirus. So if this is, in fact, the sincere clue we are hoping for then we should also see from here on out  a gradual increase in showing activity.

 I am predicting this increase in buyer activity will not be rapid due to the flat line produced this week. If we were going to recover quickly I would have expected showing activity last week to bounce back stronger than it did.

The key question is, “will we see Coronavirus affecting home prices?”. If we fail to return to normal levels of buyer activity then at some point we will see prices begin to drift down. I estimate that if this is going to occur, it will be  sometime in May.

However, keeping supply and demand rules in mind, if listings numbers are also hampered by the Coronavirus then this will balance out the equation or minimize the effect of reduced buyer activity. So, how far prices fall next month, if at all, is dependent on how much buyer activity picks up AND if listings fail to climb as they normally do as they normally do this time of year.

Missing chart – sorry

 Looking for a prediction? Hmmmm, that is a bit complicated and is in uncharted waters. I am not ready to go there, at least not today. 

Tell me what price ranges are a tougher sell.

In Clark County, the market is still active. Here is a broad look at activity levels for various home prices as of 4/6/20. The general inventory level of all housing in the County for February was 2.1. We will have updated numbers on this in one week. If my data below is at all correct then we should see an increase in inventory suggesting we are moving to a neutral or possibly a buyer’s market soon.

Price                         Pending Sales                              Inventory

 (x1,000)                  (Past 4 weeks +-)                        Level Now

400-450                          54                                                   3.8

450-500                         42                                                     3.9

500-550                         27                                                      4.4

550-600                         19                                                       4.7

600-650                        14                                                        6.6

There are 54 pending sales in about the past 4 weeks for homes priced at $400-450,000. That is a pretty healthy level of activity although we know now that some of those pendings will fail. This is according to many of the agents and lenders I have talked to and is due to job losses from Coronavirus. Inventory levels are higher than the general market  of 2.1 from February, largely as the result of the Coronavirus. 

Keep in mind that the inventory level from February is based on solds. The current numbers are based on pendings. It is likely the numbers will be weaker yet because we know a good number of pendings are failing because, again, of Coronavirus and related job losses.

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