Tri-Cities housing market rebounding from COVID-19, according to realtors

Local Coronavirus Coverage

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Even amid the pandemic, home sales in the Tri-Cities made a slight increase in May from April.

There were 569 closings in May. This is up 4.7% from April, and down 21.7% from May 2019, according to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR).

This compares to the nation as a whole, where home sales plunged 9.7% in May compared to April, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Pheben Kassahun found out why now is a great time for sellers to put their homes on the market.

“Since June there have been 776 new listings and 615 of those are already under contract,” said Kristi Bailey, 2020 president of the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors.

Loan purchases are up 5% over last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Bailey said, “I know that lenders are working really hard to get people pre-approved. The problem is we don’t have anything to sell those pre-approved buyers.”

Another big obstacle is figuring out how to price a home, which is why she advises both buyers and sellers to find an experienced realtor, according to Bailey.

Bailey said, “Prices are almost 6% higher than they were last year, so it’s a really great time for sellers because they can get enough money out of their house.”

According to NETAR, May 2020’s average home sale price was $184,593 which is up 3.9% from May 2019.

Corinne Ford and her husband are trying to sell their 2,908 square-foot home, in Johnson City.

“With COVID, it’s a little bit uncertain, but it’s been okay,” Corinne Ford said.

Her home on Boonesboro Road has been on the market for six days. The average time on the market for a house sold in May, in the Tri-Cities, was 111 days.

Regardless of the pandemic, she expects their home to be sold in a matter of weeks.

Ford said, “It’s been very quick, very efficient. We’ve had a couple showings this week.”

While it is a seller’s market at the moment, due to interest rates being lower than usual, buyers are actually able to benefit too.

“You can afford to pay a little bit more for a house and still get what you’re looking for,” Bailey said.

RELATED STORY: Realtors, economists suggest buying homes now when interest rates are low due to COVID-19

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