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Front Page - Friday, April 24, 2020

Home sales dropping, South faring better

Last week’s tornadoes reminded us that more and more factors are impacting the way our friends and families live their lives. And these factors are sure to have an impact on the housing market.

Is COVID-19 having an impact on home sales? Of course. To help understand the full extent, we turn to the National Association of Realtors March 2020 Existing Home Sales Report.

As we drill down into the regional numbers, we see existing-home sales in the South dropped 9.1% to an annual rate of 2.29 million in March. But even this short-term decrease is an increase of 0.9% from the same time one year ago.

While these numbers aren’t great, the market in our region of the country is much better off than in other areas. Existing-home sales in the West fell 13.6% to an annual rate of 1.08 million in March, a 0.9% decline from a year ago.

Home sales are a critical part of understanding housing. However, to get a more complete view, there’s more to look at for housing’s overall picture. For example, the median homes sales price in the south was $245,100, which is a 7.5% increase from a year ago. This shows that housing prices are holding steady and even increasing.

NAR statistics reveal 43% of March’s home sales were in the South, compared to 12% of the Northeast and 21% of the West.

These numbers are meaningful, but what about just the greater Chattanooga area?

For the week ending April 11, nearly 200 homes were sold. For the same week in 2019, there were 242 homes pending purchase. That means that people are still looking to buy, and they’re looking to buy here.

But what really stands out is the decrease in housing inventory. It’s apparent that some people are simply not able to put their houses on the market right now with the current market conditions. As of the week of April 11, there was a 35% reduction in the number of houses for sale in our market compared to the same point in 2019.

So, what do increase prices and decreased inventory mean? If you have the ability to put your home on the market, it will get attention. LOTS of attention. And likely a good price.

This national, regional and local housing information shows we are likely to see the impacts on housing activity for at least a few more months.

Of course, as Realtors, we all must follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended guidelines for social distancing when conducting business.

Not doing so jeopardizes our ability to continue to operate as an essential business during COVID-19. But one thing is certain: Real estate is still happening.

The housing market might be changing, but utilizing a Realtor means you’re enlisting the help of a professional who will guide you through this fluid time. 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 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.