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The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its pending home sales index, which measures signed buyer contracts, plummeted a seasonally adjusted 20.8% in March from the prior month to a reading of 88.2. That is the lowest level since May 2011. Pending sales have fallen 16.3% from a year ago.
The economic shutdown resulting from COVID-19 has hit real estate hard. Sales listings were already tumbling, but would-be buyers are now also coping with a rattled stock market and an uncertain job outlook as 26 million people are out of work. Still, the Realtors expect sales to begin recover once the outbreak subsides.