The Houston housing market has been humming along for months now, spurred by strong demand, a healthy economy and low interest rates. That trend continued in February, with the Houston Association of Realtors reporting single-family home sales up 13.2 percent from a year ago---the eighth consecutive month of increases. The median price for a single-family home rose more than 5 percent from last year.
But March has come in like a lion, and not in a good way. The coronavirus scare is already having a negative impact on the local housing market. "Everybody is taking a step back, taking a deep breath," says Houston realtor Lily Jang. "My open houses are taking a break because of coronavirus...not a lot of people want to be out and about shaking hands and touching surfaces, plus people are self-quarantining."
Jang tells KTRH that even Houston's economy isn't immune to the effects of the virus. "I think Houston is just a microcosm of what's happening all across the country, where we really are seeing a slowdown," she says. "But hopefully that won't be for long, because we still have a pretty strong economy here in Houston."
One of the keys to Houston's strong housing market has actually been helped by coronavirus. The economic downturn from the virus has driven down interest rates to near-record lows, which could cause business to pick up again. "I think for these next couple of weeks people are taking a break, they're taking a breath," says Jang. "But let's keep those interest rates low, and the buyers will come."