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Homebuyer interest drops because of coronavirus pandemic, Realtors' survey says

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Homebuyer interest is down because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors. File/Warren L. Wise/Staff

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Survey: Homebuyer interest drops because of coronavirus outbreak

Nearly half of Realtors — 48 percent — said homebuyer interest has decreased due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors.

The percentage tripled from a week ago when it stood at 16 percent. About seven in 10 Realtors said there’s no change in the number of homes on the market because of the pandemic.That's down from 87 percent a week ago.

"The decline in confidence related to the direction of the economy coupled with the unprecedented measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19, including major social distancing efforts nationwide, are naturally bringing an abundance of caution among buyers and sellers," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

"With fewer listings in what’s already a housing shortage environment, home prices are likely to hold steady," he said. "The temporary softening of the real estate market will likely be followed by a strong rebound once the economic 'quarantine' is lifted, and it's critical that supply is sufficient to meet pent-up demand."

The survey, conducted March 16-17, found 45 percent of Realtors said the stock market slide and lower mortgage rates roughly balanced out with no significant change in buyer and seller interest and behavior.

Just over 60 percent reported no change in sellers removing homes from the market, down from 81 percent.

Four in 10 members said home sellers have not changed how their home is viewed while it remains on the market. One week earlier, nearly eight in 10 members said that.

More than half of commercial members, 54 percent, have seen a decline in leasing clients, up from 18 percent the previous week.

To see the full Realtors report, click here:

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Nexton with Refuel gas station and convenience store under development

The Nexton community near Summerville is one of the largest mixed-used developments underway in the Charleston area. A Refuel gas station and convenience store is being added near Brighton Park Village in Nexton. File/Lauren Petracca/Staff

Charleston area growth predicted for 2020 is already here and more is coming

A study from 17 years ago said the Charleston region would swell to nearly 800,000 residents by 2030. They were a decade off the count.

This week in real estate

+ Evictions halted: South Carolina's Supreme Court chief justice on Tuesday ordered a halt to all evictions statewide during the coronavirus crisis.

+ Foreclosures stopped: The state's top justice also said Thursday foreclosures have been stopped to keep people from losing their homes during the pandemic.

+ Relief Fund: Trident United Way is partnering with The Post and Courier to supply relief funds in response to the growing coronavirus emergency.

Charleston Symphony Designer Showhouse suspended; but you can still participate

Music salon in Designer Showhouse

Allyson Kirkpatrick designed the music salon, featuring a baby grand piano, inside this year's Charleston Symphony Orchestra League's Designer Showhouse at 184 Ashley Ave. The showhouse has been suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak, but the league is asking that ticket purchases be considered a donation. Lauren Petracca/Staff

The music salon in the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League's Designer Showhouse at 184 Ashley Ave. was all ready for visitors before the coronavirus pandemic. The showhouse has been suspended, and the league is asking that ticket purchases be considered a donation since it is the group's largest fundraiser of the year. Organizers hope to be able to open at a later date, according to a statement on the league's website. Meanwhile, the pre-pandemic story on the showhouse is included here.

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

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