Coronavirus Is Infecting The Real Estate Market: What You Should Know

Coronavirus, a deadly disease originating in China and spreading worldwide, has taken center stage in recent news. Can a health crisis have an effect on current real estate trends? Experts weigh in on how coronavirus may impact the U.S. housing market.

Putting the Brakes on the Luxury Real Estate Market?

At this point, there have only been 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States. But according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the luxury real estate market is already taking a hit. Many high-end properties on both coasts are purchased by wealthy Chinese buyers, to the tune of $13.4 billion in NAR’s most recent annual report.

In the short term, this could repress an already sluggish luxury market, which is defined as properties selling for $1 million-plus. Bay Area broker Amy Kong, president-elect of the Asian Real Estate Association of America, reports lower attendance at open houses marketed toward Asian buyers.

Interest Rates on the Decline

China is the world’s second-largest economy, so anything impacting their financial outlook has a ripple effect around the globe. On January 30, rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans dropped nine basis points to 3.51% While lower rates could trigger an uptick in buyers, the benefit could be negated by sellers raising list prices.

What’s Ahead?

Yun makes a comparison between coronavirus and the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the early 2000s. SARS had a negligible effect on U.S. real estate, but Chinese buyers weren’t as active then. Fortunately, the consensus is that once the coronavirus is under control the market will bounce back to business as usual.

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