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Home showings tumble in March due to pandemic after healthy gains in February

Housing market 2020 look ahead

Home showings in the Charleston area climbed 13 percent in February before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. File/Warren L. Wise/Staff

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Home showings plummet in March due to pandemic after healthy gains in February

Home showings in some U.S. markets tumbled as much as 45 percent through mid-March as the coronavirus took its toll on the housing industry. In South Carolina, they were down almost 24 percent as of March 23, according to the ShowingTime Showing Index.

Buyer interest remains intact and virtual showings are taking place as more states ask residents to shelter in place during the pandemic to slow the spread of the disease, according to ShowingTime.

"If we look at the magnitude of the slowdown across different price ranges, homes in the $300,000 range saw 35-45 percent declines in showing traffic over the past two weeks, while homes above $500,000 are still being shown, but the temporary declines are in the 50-60 percent range," said ShowingTime chief analytics officer Daniil Cherkasskiy.

The full impact of the drop-off in showings is still unknown, but further declines can be expected as more communities respond with shelter-in-place edicts.

The onset of COVID-19 follows a February which marked the seventh consecutive month of nationwide growth in buyer activity with the nation's 14.8 percent rise, according to the latest ShowingTime Showing Index report.

In Charleston, February also marked the seventh straight month of increased showings with a 13 percent rise. March's numbers won't be so rosy when they are released in April, but it does appear that South Carolina's showings are not down as much as some other places in the nation.

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23 Legare

The home at 23 Legare St. on the Charleston peninsula sold in the fall for $8.625 million. Carriage Properties handled the transaction for the buyer and seller. Provided/Ellis Creek Photography

High-end home showings, sales continue as firms adjust during coronavirus outbreak

The upscale housing market, like everything else, has had to adjust to the pandemic, but showings, sales and buyer interest continues.

The best of health, hospital and science coverage in South Carolina, delivered to your inbox weekly.

This week in real estate

+ Essential service: Real estate has been classified as an essential service by the city of Charleston during its stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of the virus. Agents say the move protects people's right to buy and sell their property during the crisis.

+ Installing protection: Several grocery store chains are installing plastic shields between workers and customers at check-out stations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

+ Growing and growing: The Charleston area now has more than 800,000 people and will likely reach the 1 million mark in about 10 years or so, according to the latest U.S. Census estimates.

+ Architects sought: The Historic Charleston Foundation is looking for architects and engineers to rehabilitate the Pine Tree Hotel, one of the last remaining African American lodgings built during segregation. It's part of an effort to preserve the civil rights-era Mosquito Beach on James Island. 

+ Cupboards stocked? Stop hoarding: Trucks are still making deliveries so there is no need to keep making grocery-store runs every day. Grocers urge shoppers to buy two-weeks worth and then come back to make sure there is plenty for everyone.

+ Under construction: Columbia's construction industry is still at work with some coronavirus adjustments.

Tackling flooding through flowers, rain gardens

Rain gardens

Merideth Garrigan, a homeowner with rain gardens on her property and a permaculture business owner, put a food garden in her front yard. Charleston residents get inventive to tackle flooding. Provided/Merideth Garrigan

Merideth Garrigan, a homeowner with rain gardens on her property and a permaculture business owner, put a food garden in her front yard. Charleston residents get inventive to tackle flooding. Merideth Garrigan/Provided

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Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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