According to the Columbus Dispatch, home listings in Ohio plunged in April due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Homes are also staying on the market longer. Nationally, the numbers were also down by 45% from last April compared to this April. In the Columbus area, 1,452 homeowners posted a for-sale sign during the month, down 43.5% from a year ago, according to figures from the listing service Realtor.com. April is typically a prime month in the real estate industry.

“People are nervous about the economy, and they’re nervous about showing their homes with the concern about the virus,” said John Geha, chief executive officer of the Columbus Realtors trade association.

“I think the virus shocked people; it scared them,” he said. “But I think now that we’re adjusting to this new norm that you’ll start to see the numbers slowly creep up.” In addition to those not putting their home up for sale, many who were in the market retreated. According to an Ohio Realtors survey from the end of April, 51% of agents said sellers had pulled their homes off the market.

In addition, 84% of sellers put a halt to open houses, suggesting a fear of being infected by the coronavirus from strangers.
Like buyers, though, sellers are primarily driven by economic concerns, said George Ratiu, senior economist with Realtor.com.

“We’ve had more than 33 million people file for unemployment in just seven weeks,” he noted. “With so many people sent to the unemployment line, it explains why so many sellers are nervous about putting their home on the market.”

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