Home sales in the San Antonio area plunged 20% in May, the market’s worst stretch since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, 2,869 homes were sold in the metro area, down from 3,590 during the same period last year, the San Antonio Board of Realtors reported Wednesday. Sales started sliding in April, falling 8%, the first decrease since June 2019.

Meanwhile, the median price rose 2% to $242,400 and inventory tightened to 3.1 months.

The inventory of available homes in the area is a measurement of the average time it takes for a home to be sold if no new homes are listed. Six months typically indicates a balance between buyers and sellers.

Despite the drop in May, board chairman Kim Bragman said sales from January to May are down just 0.3% compared to the same period last year. Pending sales, an indication of future closings, are also up about 21% heading into June.

She said low interest rates are helping to fuel interest in home buying. While stuck at home, some residents may also have realized they want more space, and started browsing listings.

Real estate agents are handling many aspects of the process virtually, using FaceTime and online tours to highlight properties, Bragman said.

“We as an industry are fortunate we have so many tools available to us,” she said. “We can do things remotely without having to do a lot in-person.”

According to year-to-date figures, Bexar County is experiencing a smaller dip in sales at 13.4% compared with other counties in the same period last year, SABOR reported. Harris, Travis and Dallas counties have seen sales fall 24.9%, 33.1% and 32.9%, respectively.

Prospective buyers staying home, sellers pulling their properties off the market and businesses laying off employees are contributing to the decline in sales in areas across Texas, said Jim Gaines, chief economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

“The drop was expected,” he said.

Depending in part on home construction, stronger demand and companies rehiring employees, housing could stand out as the economy recovers.

“The housing market should be poised for a reasonably decent rebound, which would make it a leading economy activity to help restore the overall economy,” Gaines said.

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