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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, April 17, 2020

Virus’ impact felt in March housing statistics




As COVID-19’s impact spread across the country in March, the stock market decline that started in February accelerated downward before recovering slightly in the last week of the month.

With volatility across every financial market, lenders began to tighten underwriting standards, and as a result, some buyers found they were no longer approved for a loan.

Massive layoffs also shook the national economy, with 6.6 million initial jobless claims filed in a single week – double the number last week and 10 times higher than any other week on record before this month.

Focusing locally and on housing, prices continued to gain traction in March. The median sales price increased 10.5% to $210,000. Yet, even with increased prices, our market doesn’t seem to be overpriced.

The March housing affordability index was 142, meaning the median household income is 142% of what is necessary to qualify for the median-priced home under prevailing interest rates.

Days on market was up 3.7% to 56 days. Sellers were encouraged as months supply of inventory was down 27.3% to 2.4 months.

New listings in the Chattanooga region decreased 6.1% to 1,207. Pending sales were down 4.5% to 976. Inventory levels shrank 20.5% to 2,182 units.

So how has the market changed because of COVID-19? As a point of reference, in March 2019, there were 1,282 new listings in Chattanooga. Also, pending sales stood at 1,084, the median sales price reached $190,000 and days on market was 54 days.

As you can see, the current environment is affecting real estate, but real estate is still happening.

While the effect of COVID-19 is varied throughout the country, we are likely to see impacts on housing activity now and into the coming months. Its continued spread is leading many companies and consumers to change their daily activities.

Navigating a market that can shift quickly is just one reason why consulting a Realtor is important. In addition to navigating COVID-19 (see www.gcar.net/covid-19), Greater Chattanooga Realtors is also gathering resources for those in our community whose homes and businesses were impacted by the recent tornadoes (see www.gcar.net/disaster-assistance).

Realtors keep a watchful eye on trends locally and nationally that might affect our clients and community. That’s Who We R.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423 698-8001.