May home sales up from April’s total, but down 21.7% from last year

Hank Hayes • Jun 16, 2020 at 8:00 PM

GRAY — May’s home sales had a slight increase from April but continue to be gripped by the coronavirus economic fallout, according to a report from the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR).

NETAR reported there were 569 closings in May, up 4.7% from April and down 21.7% from May last year. Last month’s average sales price was $184,593, up 3.9% from May last year.

“Market activity is picking up,” NETAR President Kristi Bailey said. “Sellers accepted almost 900 new contracts that are moving toward closing in June and July. And there were 220 more new listings than there were in April, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with demand.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is reporting that applications for home purchases have increased for five consecutive weeks. Government purchase applications (FHA, VA, and USDA loans) are now 5% higher than a year ago, according to MBA.

“The local market continues to struggle with the lowest inventory real estate professionals can remember,” Bailey added. “Area-wide, there were barely three months of inventory on the market in May. And in some city markets, it was closer to two months. Six months of inventory is considered balanced housing market conditions.”

Single-family resales accounted for 533 of May’s residential closing, an increase of 32 from April but 131 fewer than May last year. The average sales price of $188,265 was up $5,887 from last year.

Thirty-six townhome/condominium sales closed last month — six fewer than during April and 27 fewer than last year. The average sales price was $130,229, an improvement of $1,938 from last year.

The average single-family sale that closed in May spent 111 days on the market. The average townhome/condo resale was on the market for 74 days.

The six-month trend shows closings are lagging the first half of last year by 9% while the average sales price has increased by 5.8%.

NETAR’s Trends Report reflects housing market conditions in Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties in Northeast Tennessee and Scott, Lee, Wise, and Washington counties in Southwest Virginia. It also includes market data from the region’s major city markets.

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