Dog-Paddling While Sheltering in Place: Housing Edition
Because we all need a little joy in our house-bound lives, especially now.
Bucket swimming – when you’re quarantined and can’t get to the pool pic.twitter.com/5tiRM0YPXt — Rob Szczerba (@RJSzczerba) April 2, 2020 
But I digress…
The Elliman Report for Manhattan Sales Q1-2020 presents the market before and after the virus
As my readers know, I’ve been writing the expanding Douglas Elliman report series  since 1994. One of the challenges of presenting this particular first-quarter report  is that most of the metrics represent sales that closed in the quarter, which meant that their contracts were likely not signed in the last two weeks of March.
But the problem with over-relying on contract data is that contracts blow up in times of duress. During the financial crisis, NAR indicated that blown contracts accounted for as much as 40% of pending sales at one point. The other challenge with contract data is that most assume it is real-time, but it actually lags the “meeting of the minds” between buyers and sellers on price and terms by two to three weeks. Once the terms are agreed to in principle by the buyers and sellers through their real estate agents, the attorneys hash out the details, and then the documents are signed.
The only data that reflects the last two weeks of the month was reflected in the following chart on Bloomberg, and we all know my affinity for charts. This one was in the top twenty most-read articles by the 350K Bloomberg Terminal subscribers.
Manhattan listing inventory generally rises from year-end to the end of March (quarter over quarter). For the first time since 2007, listing inventory declined during this period.
MANHATTAN SALES MARKET HIGHLIGHTS
Elliman Report: Manhattan Sales Q1-2020 
Final two weeks of March 2020
– Awareness of the global pandemic known as COVID-19 cooled conditions after two significant rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and the statewide shutdown of non-essential businesses.
– Current sales contract activity does not account for the market impact of the coronavirus yet since it lags the “meeting of the minds” by 2-3 weeks
– Listing inventory fell quarter over quarter in the first quarter for the first time since 2007
– If the outbreak is not prolonged, there is still potential for a release of pent-up demand, but this depends on the extent of damage done to the economy.
New Year 2020 through mid-March 2020
– The number of sales jumped year over year after two straight quarterly declines
– All three overall price trend indicators declined annually for the third straight quarter
– Re-sale listing inventory fell year over year for the first time in ten quarters
– All luxury price trend price indicators declined year over year for the second straight quarter
– Largest year over year increase in new development closings in two and a half years
NORTHERN MANHATTAN SALES MARKET HIGHLIGHTS
Elliman Report: Northern Manhattan Sales Q1-2020 
Co-ops & Condos
– The number of sales surged, rising year over year for the third time in four quarters
– Median sales price jumped year over year for the first gain in three quarters
– Median sales price declined annually for the third straight quarter
– Listing inventory declined for the first time in two years
Bloomberg Radio MIB: Jonathan Miller on Real Estate After the Coronavirus
I joined my friend and Bloomberg Radio host Barry Ritholtz to talk about the housing market before and after the Coronavirus crisis  on his must-listen radio and podcast show Masters in Business. This has been my third time on the show since 2014, and its always fun to do.
Shelter in Place Is The Fastest Way To Help The Economy/Housing Market Recover
One of the biggest mistakes many Americans are making is to assume high-density locations will be where the bulk of the damage is done by the virus. A friend of mine and appraiser in rural Montana is running into situations with infected homeowners. There are houses in the middle of nowhere that have occupants with an infection. The following map uses cell phone data, presumably the same data that powers traffic feedback on Google Maps, to show how many parts of the country are not changing their daily routines.
I’d suggest those reluctant to change their routines or to believe there is a crisis, look at it another way (setting aside those that have no choice, obviously). If you are in a rural location and think you are safe, you might want to look at NYC right now as a preview of what you will see in a few weeks. Home sales may be going gangbusters right now where you live/work but that may stop as the virus will be much more widespread, low mortgage rates or not.
Here’s a map of where consumers are staying at home.
And another take on social distancing – a spectacular visualization from Reuters  that shows correlations with household income and age. Not everyone is able (or willing) to social-distance.
Click on the image and scroll through all the content – it is incredibly well done.
Here’s a good article from the Economist: Lessons from the Spanish flu: social distancing can be good for the economy 
Data from the 1918 pandemic in America suggest that places with the tightest restrictions fared best
Incidentally …a little trivia
The Allies of World War I came to call it the Spanish flu, primarily because the pandemic received greater press attention after it moved from France to Spain in November 1918. Spain was not involved in the war and had not imposed wartime censorship.
Bloomberg Radio: Surveillance – ‘Jonathan Miller…details how the housing market is dealing with fallout from the coronavirus.’
I spoke with Tom Keene and Lisa Abramowicz  on Bloomberg Radio’s morning show “Surveillance” on the state of the housing market.
The full segment is a great listen. My interview starts at 21:33.
Bloomberg TV: Markets – ‘Manhattan Home Sellers Hold Back Listings During Coronavirus’
I joined network Vonnie Quinn in New York to talk about the state of the market since the coronavirus hit. She is always wonderful to speak with. The stock photo they used for me was taken about 15 years ago (when I was 15, obviously). At the last second, they had me speak through their London bureau for technical reasons, so each question and answer saw a small delay. The interview was based on this Bloomberg article: Manhattan Home Sellers Hold Back Listings in Coronavirus Retreat :
From The Matrix Blog: Elliman Magazine: 8 Regional Housing Market Charts
Before the virus outbreak, I whipped up eight charts for Elliman Magazine using data from our expanding Douglas Elliman Market Report Series  to touch base on a wide array of U.S. housing markets. These charts appeared on pages 280-282 in the 2020 Spring/Summer edition  of Elliman Magazine . Click on each graphic to expand.
From The Matrix Blog: Staying Put Locally = Saving Lives Globally
Visual Capitalist  created a terrific infographic of 41 cities around the globe, comparing the outbreak trend against the commuter activity trend. Incredible
(For earlier appraisal industry commentary, visit my old clunky REIC  site.)
After last week’s blowout record amount of content, I’ve focused on the world outside of Appraiserville this week, and a lot of is still relevant to appraisers.
Back next week.
OFT (One Final Thought)
NSFW This clip is a reminder for all of us on how to be safe and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Although it is NSFW, I would think many of our readers are actually at home, so lets rate it NSFH and keep the kids out of earshot:
Brilliant Idea #1
If you need something rock solid in your life (particularly on Friday afternoons) and someone forwarded this to you, or you think you already subscribed, sign up here for these weekly Housing Notes . And be sure to share with a friend or colleague if you enjoy them because:
- They’ll be better at social-distancing;
- You’ll wash your hands for 20-seconds many times;
- And I’ll continue to stand in front of my refrigerator.
Brilliant Idea #2
You’re obviously full of insights and ideas as a reader of Housing Notes. I appreciate every email I receive and it helps me craft the next week’s Housing Note.
See you next week.
Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed
- You’re from where? Pandemic stigmatizes New Yorkers fleeing city [Washington Post] 
- Showings ‘Essential,’ But Can Only be Done Virtually: State [The Real Deal] 
- Housing Markets in a Pandemic: Evidence from Historical Outbreaks by Marc Francke, Matthijs Korevaar [SSRN] 
- Inflections and Recoveries [NKF Research] 
- What the $2T stimulus does for real estate [The Real Deal] 
- New York Court of Appeals Strikes Down Portion of Rent Law [The Real Deal] 
- IMPORTANT BREAKING NEWS FROM NYSAR 
- Chief regulator says mortgage bailout is 'on the honor system', pleads with borrowers to be honest [CNBC] 
- Interactive Map: Coronavirus Cases In NYC By Zip Code [Gothamist] 
- Housing in Major Cities Like Los Angeles May Be Hardest Hit by ‘Coronavirus Recession’ [Mansion Global] 
- 40% of N.Y. Tenants May Not Pay Rent This Month. What Happens Then? [NY Times] 
- Lessons from the Spanish flu: social distancing can be good for the economy [Economist] 
- The Hamptons Is Seeing High Demand For Offseason Rentals Due To Coronavirus [Forbes] 
- The last, sad days of John Daugherty end on a positive note [Houston Agent Magazine] 
- Billionaire's Instagram-Perfect Isolation on a Luxury Superyacht Draws Outrage [Bloomberg] 
- New York halts real estate agents from showings, open houses [Albany Business Review] 
- Pandemic Will Worsen Housing Affordability for Service, Retail, and Transportation Workers – Blog [Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University] 
- Businesses in the Tri-State Region Struggling to Weather the Coronavirus Outbreak [Liberty Street Economics] 
- The Housing Market Is in Lockdown [Bloomberg] 
- Statement from C.A.R. 3.28 [Coronavirus Updates] 
- Most residential realtors may be women, but inequality is still prevalent in the real estate industry [Yahoo Finance] 
My New Content, Research and Mentions
- With inventory down and contracts disrupted, Manhattan's spring sales season is on pause, too [Brick Underground] 
- Coronavirus Forcing Home Buyers to Scramble to Close Deals [Realtor.com] 
- Podcast: Michael Gapen discusses Historic Jobless Claims [Bloomberg] 
- Manhattan Sales Started the Year Strong Before Coronavirus Slammed the Market to a Halt [Mansion Global] 
- Manhattan Home Sellers Hold Back Listings in Coronavirus Retreat [Bloomberg Quint] 
- Coronavirus hurls Manhattan housing market into deep freeze [Yahoo Finance] 
- Coronavirus Puts A Damper On Q1 Manhattan Sales Increases [Forbes] 
- Cuomo’s Unclear Rules Complicate Broker Business in Pandemic [The Real Deal] 
- Zillow, Opendoor and Other Major iBuyers Pull Out Fast [The Real Deal] 
- Manhattan Listing Inventory Keeps Falling During Pandemic [The Real Deal] 
- "April is when the big problems kick in:" LA residential firms face reckoning [The Real Deal] 
- Coronavirus Forcing Home Buyers to Scramble to Close Deals [Wall Street Journal] 
- Coronavirus Forcing Home Buyers to Scramble to Close Deals [Mansion Global] 
- How to virtually tour an apartment when you can't visit it [Brick Underground] 
Recently Published Elliman Market Reports
- Elliman Report: Northern Manhattan Sales 1Q 2020 [Miller Samuel] 
- Elliman Report: Manhattan Sales 1Q 2020 [Miller Samuel] 
Appraisal Related Reads
- Hot real estate stats during the pandemic? [Sacramento Appraisal Blog] 
- Legal and Risk Issues 2.0 for Real Estate Appraisers Relating to the COVID-19 Crisis [Christensen Law Firm] 
- If We Run Out of Toilet Paper… [Cleveland Appraisal Blog] 
- 4-3-20 Newz: COVID-19: Data, Comps and Values [Appraisal Today] 
- XOME Letter in Case Appraisers Get Arrested [Jonathan Miller/Appraisers Blogs] 
- Ryan Lundquist answers five questions on appraisal uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic [Housingwire] 
- COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus [WALITT SOLUTIONS]