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Survey: More Home Buyers And Sellers Think Housing Prices Will Fall

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BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS
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A model home for sale is pictured in February of 2016 at The Woodlands on Hillsdale Road in Jacksonville. The neighborhood's buildout has since been completed.

Jacksonville’s housing industry is another piece of the economy that could soon look different due to COVID-19.

A new report finds more home sellers and buyers believe prices are about to go down.

Redfin, which is a national real estate company, found 44% of those surveyed think home prices will fall, while just 32% believe prices will continue to increase.

That’s a complete flip from just three months ago when 56% believed prices would go up and just 25% thought they would decrease.

Still, Redfin’s Chief Economic Daryl Fairweather doesn’t expect a repeat of the housing crash that occurred during the Great Recession.

“It’s perfectly reasonable to expect that a 2020 recession won’t stop home prices from rising, since the supply of homes for sale is so constricted and mortgage rates are at all-time lows,” said Fairweather.

Home values in Jacksonville jumped an average 46% over a five-year period, according to Point2 Homes, a real estate search portal company.

Jacksonville’s median home price in February was $193,271, according to real estate company Zillow, which reflected an increase of more than 5% in just one year.

Zillow had been forecasting home prices in Jacksonville to grow 6.6% over the next year. But that will likely change as COVID-19’s economic impacts begin to be factored in the numbers.

Homeowners who have lost income or their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak are getting some relief. Depending on their situation, they could be eligible to have their mortgage payments reduced or suspended for up to 12 months.

Federal regulators, through the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are ordering lenders to offer homeowners flexibility. The move covers about half of all home loans in the U.S. — those guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie. But regulators expect that the entire mortgage industry will quickly adopt a similar policy.

Under the plan, people who have suffered a loss of income can qualify to make reduced payments or be granted a complete pause in payments.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.