Coronavirus sends pending home sales plunging 20.8% in March

National Association of Realtors index at lowest level since May 2011

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BALTIMORE (AP) — U.S. home sales showed signs of collapsing in March, as the number of contract signs plunged sharply because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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.

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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.

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