Coronavirus Continues to Curtail the Housing Market
The coronavirus has stalled many spring home-buying plans, as open houses are cancelled, brokerages suspend their operations and quarantines make it difficult to go anywhere.
The latest obstacle? The closure of government recording offices, as all nonessential employees in many states have been told to stay at home. These offices are vital to the buying and refinancing processes, as title searches and deed filings occur there. As of Friday, roughly 1,000 of the nation's 3,600 recording offices had shut down or significantly reduced their hours, according to the American Land Title Association.
The last few weeks saw a climb in mortgage applications, particularly from borrowers seeking to refinance in the face of low-interest rates. Many of those loan closings are scheduled now; unfortunately, most lenders require a title search for refinancing.
While it is still too soon to tell that what the long-term ramifications will be, continued disruption of the global and U.S. economies is expected.