How Has The Housing Market Responded to Past Crises?

Housing Market Responses to Epidemics

The word “unprecedented” is frequently used to describe COVID-19 and its effects on society. As true as that may be, we can look to past events for clues on what will come next — specifically for the economy and the housing market.

Through a deep dive into past research, Zillow experts were able to ascertain some patterns that are especially helpful to anyone who is considering buying or selling a property in the near future. Among the key findings…

  • Economic activity declined sharply during past epidemics, but rebounded much more quickly than during standard recessions.
  • Although transaction volume decreased during recent epidemics, property prices remained relatively stable.
  • Epidemics may or may not coincide with the occurrence of a standard recession.

As The New York Times notes, some buyers recognize there are certain advantages to buying at this time — such as less competition and low rates. In areas such as ours where sellers have held the advantage for a while, this may signal a temporary turn toward a buyers’ market.

In contrast to renting, owning a home may also look especially attractive to buyers right now who are eager to have fixed expenses and the emotional benefit of having a place they can call their own.

For homeowners who had plans to sell, the trends from past recessions may not be as grim as it could first appear. As Zillow shares from data analysis, the collapse of home values during the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009 is actually an “outlier” as “annual home value growth remained positive” through other recessions, such as the 2001 dot-com crash.

Even in the best of times, buyers and sellers often express wanting to wait for the “right time” to make a move. But, as this collective experience is now proving, it is also important to factor what feels right. If that points to still making a move, you should feel optimistic that even though these are “unprecedented” times, we can confidently predict houses will still sell.

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