- Stocks dropping are telling you that the economy is hurting and so is demand for assets. Those are big negatives for real estate prices.
- Usually when stocks drop the financial authorities cut rates which can have the follow-on effect of making long end rates lower, but rates are already very low so we won't get the typical tailwind to real estate prices from lower mortgage rates (lower rates make it easier for people to borrow to buy homes).
- Real estate prices are typically slow to adjust because transactions aren't happening in the same numbers they do in the stock market. So while they may not go down, they could stagnate for a long time even after the stock market recovers.
- If markets fall you don't want to be the person buying the asset whose price is sticky and didn't adjust because when markets rebound the thing you bought doesn't appreciate while everything else does.
- Just because your economic situation is relatively stable/bountiful doesn't mean it's the same for others.
- Unfortunately, an "extra" ~1% of the global population dying means more real estate to go around, which won't help prices. Falling commodity prices also mean it becomes cheaper to build a home going forward.
Global stock markets just corrected 20%+, real estate prices aren't going to be seeing big price increases anytime soon(unless stocks bounce back, which they very well could, in which case you'd be better off in stocks than real estate) and they very well may fall, but that will take much longer because prices are sticky.
Both the level and volatility of global economic activity are huge question marks right now, and they have a huge impact on the value of assets, including real estate. The global situation with this pandemic is quite volatile. We have still yet to see a country emerge from it. And no, China has not actually gone back to work/ left their homes for anything other than necessities. There is a possibility that once they do we'll see an increase in cases. Will we as a world get through this? Absolutely, we're humans we persevere and are resourceful. That said, we don't know what the world will look like on the other side or how much pain it will take to get there. That could mean much lower prices. Or it might not.
Real estate is notoriously slow to react to changing conditions and sometimes it reacts by just not changing hands for very long periods of time while prices stagnate. This is like prices should go down but they don't because no one sells they just hold on. Real estate prices can be very sticky but that doesn't mean you want to be the one buying when the price should really be lower. You have other things to invest in like Juhist mentioned.
If it were me, to make such a huge commitment at this uncertain time, I certainly wouldn't do it with borrowed money. I want to see a big country like China emerge from this crisis first if i was going to follow through at the same price level while other assets were down considerably.
If I had the money I would want AT LEAST a 10% discount (~half the stock market's drop), and no one is going to give that to you so early in this crisis, and yes, it is a crisis. It will take a few months for sellers to wrap their heads around the fact that their real estate may not be worth as much. Only then may prices adjust as people become willing to sell at lower prices. The most likely scenario though, assuming the equity market doesn't bounce back, is just that prices stagnate for the foreseeable future, so why buy?
UPDATE (3/25/2020): At this point, with global leaders finally having woken to the severity of the crisis, rates coming down as a result and massive stimulus in the works, I'd go ahead and buy assuming
(a) your employment really is stable
(b) you aren't levering yourself too much
(c) you have 1-2 year's worth of expenses saved
(d) you plan to be in the home for at least 7 years and
(e) you reset the rate on your loan lower than where it was previously
I won't be on the board for a while as I have business to attend. Best of luck and really great question!