May 2020: COVID-19 Update

Statistics are beginning to reveal the effect of the current situation on the Lawrence Real Estate Market

May is here and we finally have some statistics to share that are painting the picture of the effects on the local real estate market from the COVID-19 Pandemic and the accompanying shutdowns. It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone that the effect has been tremendous. Showing activity and housing inventory started the year with large increases from the prior year. But, at just about the middle of the month when NCAA Tournaments were cancelled, showing activity crashed. 

It didn’t take long for this effect to begin to affect listing inventory, sale and contract activity, and just about every market indicator we follow. Consider the figures in the graph below, courtesy of the Lawrence Board of REALTORS and the Wichita State Center for Real Estate:
We can see lots of declines across the board for the month of April. New Listings were down nearly 40% from April 2019. I’d wager to guess that we’ve never seen such a year-over-year decrease in new listings during a Spring Market in Lawrence. Not even back in the economic downturn of 2008. Contracts written in April reflect the same impact, down almost 37%. Following these stats, we saw housing inventory drop overall back down to 2.1 months-of-supply. This figure paints the picture of a very uneven market. 

Despite this, or perhaps in light of it, average and median home prices soared. Sale prices continue to rise in most price ranges, but continue to stay pretty flat above $400,000. Some have referred to this as “pressure-cooker” market, with increase in the competitive price ranges and stagnation in higher price points. Days-on-market is ridiculously low. The median DOM this year is 4 Days! Most new listings that are correctly priced will not even spend a week on the market. It’s hard to pick a single stat that’s most shocking on this graph, but that might be it! 

So what effect has this had on buyers? Well, there’s fewer buyers in the market today. That’s probably not much of a surprise with last week’s unemployment numbers. Some folks who were buyers at the beginning of the year have been taken out to the market and may not return until later this year, or even next year. But, there have been so many buyers in the market, that those who remain have not wavered in being aggressive and looking for an opportunity to buy. For those that can manage it, this market has provided some interesting opportunities. 

The month of April 2020 has just been the wildest month! Now that the shutdowns are beginning to ease up and business begins to re-open, it’ll be very interesting to follow the stats as the year progresses. Most REALTORS expect that the stalled Spring Market will come roaring back as we get into Summer, and continue well into Fall. That’s provided everything goes well and we don’t see further shutdowns. The markets proceeds, but we feel that most buyers, sellers, and agents are proceeding with extreme caution. The safety of everyone remains top priority! 

We hope everyone is staying safe out there, and we look forward to seeing everyone in person again when the time is right! Check out our website in the meantime to see how we’re doing real estate differently at R+K. Our model provides the same level of service at drastically reduced commission rates. We even “Reward” our buyer clients after that big home purchase! Find out how we’re empowering our clients:

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This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.