The lowest mortgage rates on record are colliding with the prospect of an economic downturn prompted by the coronavirus outbreak, setting the stage for an unpredictable spring selling season in the housing market.
Early indications suggest that rock-bottom borrowing costs may not be enough to lure many home buyers amid the current uncertainty. Economists are tamping down earlier expectations that cheap rates and a strong job market would boost the housing market in 2020 following years of sluggish growth.
The National Association of Realtors had anticipated about 5.5 million sales of previously owned homes in 2020, up from 5.3 million a year in 2019 and 2018, said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
“I thought that there would be a steady increase from January pretty much throughout most of the year,” Mr. Yun said. “Obviously, we hit a major speed bump” due to the epidemic.
The association said Monday it