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Coronavirus could have an effect on peak home sale season

PHOENIX — Home sales usually peak in the summer, but the coronavirus is pushing the real estate market’s yearly peak to the fall.

In 2020, the new school year didn’t create such a hard deadline for families to move.

“If school just means opening the laptop at the kitchen table, then it’s not so disruptive,” Zillow economist Jeff Tucker said. “You just throw that kitchen table in the moving van and open up the laptop at your new house.”

He also said sellers took advantage of the pandemic to prepare, list, show their homes and get higher prices.

Inventory is down by 21.6% year-over-year, but buyers are not giving up.

“I think the coronavirus and the recession are connected to these super low mortgage rates, which have ended up supercharging demand for housing,” Tucker said.

In metro Phoenix for the week ending Sept. 19, Zillow found:

  • Newly pending sales grew 3.1% from the prior week, and are 18.9% higher than last year.
  • Homes typically went under contract after 11 days, nine days faster than last year.
  • The median list price is up 10.4% year over year to $399,350.

This fall, and into next spring, Tucker will be tracking homeowners that went into forbearance, freezing mortgage payments because COVID-19 left them unemployed.

Foreclosures could boost the inventory of homes.

“How many of them will be back on their feet financially and able to work out a repayment plan?” Tucker asked. “That really depends on the recovery of the economy.”

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