The numbers: The index of pending home sales dropped 20.8% in March as the coronavirus pandemic took a significant bite out of real-estate activity, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.
This represented the lowest level of pending sales since 2011.
The index measures real-estate transactions where a contract was signed but the sale had not yet closed, benchmarked to contract-signing activity in 2001. It serves as an indicator for existing-home sales reports in the coming months.
What happened: Compared with March 2019, signings were down 16.3% nationally.
On a monthly basis, pending sales dropped in every region with the West seeing the largest decline at 26.8%, followed by the Midwest (down 22%) and the South (19.5%). In the Northeast, contract signings only decreased 14.5%.
The big picture: While the coronavirus outbreak has not caused real-estate activity to stop entirely, it has put a major damper on what economists had