COLLEGE STATION – After accounting for seasonal factors, existing homes sold through Texas Multiple Listing Services fell to their lowest level since 2012 amid public health precautions and social distancing measures.
“The month of May marked the housing market’s deepest decline thus far during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. James Gaines, chief economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
“Texas’ existing-home sales plummeted 32 percent year over year on top of a 22 percent slide in April,” he said.
According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales across the country fell for the third consecutive month in May, slumping 27 percent year over year. Single-family home sales fared better than that for condominiums and townhomes, suggesting a shift in preferences from urban areas to the suburbs. Similar movements have been observed in Texas’ major metropolitan areas.
Center Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres said May was likely the trough of housing activity, but the coronavirus’ impact on location preferences could be long lasting.
“On the supply side, the number of existing homes rebounded in Texas but remained down 16 percent compared with last May, potentially worsening housing shortages as the market normalizes,” said Torres. The median price for an existing home sold in Texas was $235,000 compared with the national median of $284,600.
“We expect June data to reflect the initial relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions implemented in mid-March,” said Torres, “but a resurgence in contracted coronavirus cases and hospitalizations could reverse the recovery.”
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