Homebuyers appear eager to purchase in some metros, data suggests

Buyers in some major cities, however, appear to still be hesitant

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As some states begin easing coronavirus-related economic restrictions, homebuyers in some big metropolitan areas may be awaiting their chance to make a purchase, new data indicates.

Online real estate site Zillow said that searches for listings dropped off as much as 19 percent year over year in March after a nationwide lockdown went into effect about midway through the month. However, about half-way through April, traffic to for-sale pages had rebounded, and even surpassed levels seen during the comparable period last year.

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Traffic to for-sale pages had dropped off in San Francisco– but has since recovered. The bounce back in both Minneapolis and Los Angeles has led to “substantially higher” traffic when compared with last year.

“It’s impossible to know precisely what’s driving this recent spike in traffic: It could be coming from optimistic buyers hoping to get an early jump on their plans as soon as restrictions are lifted, or simply from aspirational viewers stuck at home and seeking an escape through real estate,” researchers wrote.

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Overall, traffic across the nation to for-sale listing was up 13 percent year over year for the week ending April 13.

In 30 of the 35 largest metro areas, web traffic to for-sale listings was up year-over-year during the second week of April, according to the report. Cities that drew lower traffic compared to 2019 included Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City and Boston.

Seattle had experienced some of the earliest declines in traffic, New York has seen some of the largest daily drops, according to Zillow.

Experts have been hopeful that the housing market will bounce back relatively quickly once the U.S. economy reopens. Many believe, however, it will ultimately depend on consumers’ confidence that the country is moving past the pandemic.

So far, the data has been bleak. New home sales fell more than 15 percent in March, which is the largest monthly drop in more than six years, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.

Meanwhile, some states that have dealt with less severe coronavirus outbreaks have begun easing restrictions in a bid to slowly reopen their economies. The White House released updated testing guidance on Monday to help guide state and local governments through the process, aimed at preventing and containing local outbreaks along the way.

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