Buyers still outweigh inventory: Knoxville housing market thriving during pandemic

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Mortgage rates continue to remain low, after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates, which aimed at curbing the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bryan McKee, a mortgage loan officer for Movement Mortgage, says now is a good time to buy.

“With rates as low as they are, you have more purchasing power, which will help you in the long run,” he said.

Lower rates essentially mean you could have a lower monthly payment; which could allow you to spend more on a house.

Lacy Mellon, a realtor for RE/MAX Tri Star Realty, is selling homes in as soon as a day or two after they’re listed.

One of her deals is pending in the Parkridge neighborhood right now. The property saw between 10-12 viewings on the first day, Mellon said. An offer was submitted on the home within the first 30 hours. An offer was accepted in fewer than 48.

While she described the housing market as thriving in Knoxville, she did note the pandemic, coupled with lack of inventory, has lead to a 20% dip in housing sales compared to last year.

“There are a lot of buyers in the market and not a lot of houses for them, just because of how low rates are right now. People are anxious and ready to find their house and they want to, but there’s not enough out there so it’s creating this feeding frenzy …”

Lacy Mellon
Realtor, Re/Max Tri Star Realty

McKee said there was a noticable pause in mortgage applications early on in the pandemic, because “people were trying to figure out what was going to happen,” but noted business has rebounded in the last few weeks.

He estimated a 13% dip in home buying applications, compared to 2019. But with low rates, McKee is also working with more interest first-time home buyers.

The pandemic has presented challenges, for both buyers and sellers. For buyers, specifically those relocating to Knoxville, Mellon has had to provide virtual tours, as many have been hesitant to travel amid the novel virus outbreak.

She’s had to find ways to tackle health concerns, while finding buyers the right home, through promoting hand washing, providing shoe coverings, and screening clients before in-person showings, making sure they haven’t experienced any recent symptoms.

Some sellers, Mellon said, are less inclined to allow potential buyers into their homes, especially if they’re still occupying it; however, some homes are coming back on the market, as the economy slowly reopens.

If you’re interested in buying a home, for the first time, Mellon recommends planning ahead. She works with clients up to a year in advance to make sure they have the tools they need and a timeline so they’re confident and excited to make buy.

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