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March 2, 2020

Is the Coronavirus Infecting San Francisco Real Estate?

There’s been considerable speculation among home buyers, sellers and real estate agents over the past few days about the coronavirus’ potential effect on our local San Francisco market.

Indeed, the stock market just had its worst week since 2008, and the World Health Organization elevated its virus risk assessment to “very high.” Home buyers hoping to take advantage of what may be a lull in the market are well advised to move down payment funds from securities accounts to easily accessible, non-volatile bank accounts.

So what might we expect if the outbreaks continue popping up, disrupting business and travel in the process?

I spoke with a number of my colleagues and lenders to get a sense for the current word on the street. Here are a few takeaways:
– The stock market’s tumble has chipped away at home buyers’ down payment levels, and a couple agents mentioned that they had buyers who decided against writing offers this week as a result.
– The lenders were quick to point out that interest rates are at record lows, so that may offset the stock market trauma a bit.
– Open house traffic over the past weekend was solid. However, Realtors expect lower open house attendance if confirmed virus cases begin emerging in San Francisco. (Let’s just say that I’m not eager to shake hands with anyone these days.)

I’m not predicting that our housing market will crash. The reality is that people still need a place to live, and there never seems to be enough San Francisco homes to meet demand. My advice to buyers and sellers is to go ahead with your real estate plans—and make sure you wash your hands routinely over the next few months.

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