Coronavirus in Knox: House sales, for now, remain strong during COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The novel coronavirus pandemic sparked the US Federal Reserve to cut short-term interest rates two weeks ago in order to protect the economy. What has that meant for the housing market in East Tennessee?

Considering what East Tennessee and the entire country is going through, home sales are good. For now.

One reason for that is because realtors in the Knoxville Metro Area are aggressive and up to date in the way they market homes, with many turning to virtual video tours to avoid open houses in order to curb the transmission of the coronavirus.

Creative virtual walk-throughs are meant to keep the housing market active.

These digital alternative ways of showing a house without buyers being physically present at the property so far are paying off for the industry in East Tennessee.

Claudia Stallings of Coldwell Banker Wallace showed WATE 6 On Your Side their March 2020 to March 2019 comparisons of homes under contract.

“If we look at March of last year compared to March of this year, pending contracts are only down 5% which bodes well for future closings.

We had 1,977 that went under contract. This year in March we had 1,884 and we’re not done with the day yet.”

Claudia Stallings, Coldwell Banker Wallace

If you’re committed to buying a home this year or refinancing, now is the time to strike. Because home mortgage rates are currently favorable. WATE 6 On Your Side talked with David O’Block of CMG Financial.

“We are at historic lows. However it is a very volatile market. Interest rates do change on a daily basis and throughout tht day just like an individual stock will trade but we are at historical lows.”

David O’Block

In the Knoxville market, realtor.com lists current mortgage rates on March 31 at 3.58% for a 30-year fixed mortgage, 3.04% for a 15-year fixed, and 3.27% for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage.

“When interest rates are lower, your mortgage payment will be lower so that will give you more purchasing power on what you might qualify for.”

David O’Block

When Claudia Stallings checks the supply of homes in the Knoxville metropolitan area, she says it is a seller’s market.

“So right now we are at a three months of supply. Which means if nothing else would be listed today, we would be out of things to sell in three months’ time. A healthy market is considered six to nine months worth of supply.”

Claudia Stallings

That home WATE 6 On Your Side visited last week already has an offer pending on the sale.

Twelve years ago during the 2008 recession, there were about 20,000 houses for sale in the Knoxville area according to the multiple listing service.

Now there are about 4,000, and industry analysts, like Stallings, believe when we are free to move about again, free to do open houses, free to conduct showings and that time will happen — there will be a pent-up demand for homes.

Because mortgage interest rates are historically low, we’re told the activity of mortgage refinancing has nearly tripled.

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