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March 11, 2020

Stock Market Volatility, Virus Containment Trigger Uncertainty in SF Housing

UPDATE: We’re continuing to see significant volatility in the stock market, with another big plunge on March 16th. There’s uncertainty over how the coronavirus and huge financial hits across all industries will play out. We’re watching and waiting to see what tangible effects this ongoing activity may have on our local housing market.

The Fed’s near zero rate cut may help spur housing sales. Some buyers are starting to think that this may be a good time to buy (provided you haven’t lost a bulk of your down payment money in the stock market). Of course, those who’d love to own property in the city are keeping a close eye on sale prices and inventory and hoping there’s a possibility prices will fall within their range.

It is anything but business as usual right now. San Francisco Realtors are discussing temporarily suspending open houses and broker tours (more on that soon). Everyone is cloistered at home in the wake of mandatory work from home orders, school shutdowns and efforts to maintain appropriate social distance.

Home sellers are having second thoughts about listing their properties, fearing we are heading for a recession that will put downward pressure on prices. Indeed, I’m seeing sellers accept those preemptive offers a bit more quickly, rather than waiting around for an offer date that may or may not be negatively affected by another stock market slide.

Honestly, it’s too soon to say how the Spring market will fare. As much as I’d like to accurately predict what will happen, I’m just a real estate agent trying to make sense of all this day-to-day activity. I worked through the 2008 financial crisis successfully; the current state of affairs fortunately doesn’t include a swarm of bad loans catapulting real estate nationwide. So if people stop panic selling, the stock market stabilizes and interest rates remain low, it’s quite possible that San Francisco won’t be dramatically affected.

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