Investors prepare for alarming jobs report: live updates

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Despite headwinds, overpriced apartments and legislative hurdles, the New York residential real estate market experienced unlikely upward movements for most of the first quarter.

Then the coronavirus struck, stopping the rebound in its tracks. Now the pandemic threatens to do the same in the country’s housing markets during the peak of the buying season.

What happened in the first two months of the year no longer matters, said Jonathan J. Miller, president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants. “All that matters for the housing market is what will happen next.”

The New York State Home Stay Order, and similar restrictions elsewhere, have effectively prohibited open houses and property presentations, and “most people are not going to make a big purchase without the see, “said Frederick Warburg Peters, general manager of Warburg Realty. Depending on the length of the epidemic, he said, the number of new contracts in New York could drop by more than 70% in the second quarter, compared to the same period last year.

“We find ourselves with little to no empirical evidence of what’s going on,” said Miller, as the virus epidemic became a factor so late in March. “I don’t have any sense, otherwise it will be catastrophic. “

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