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

Don Fenley 

May’s home sales made a slight bounce from April but continue to be gripped by the coronavirus economic fallout.

There were 569 closings in May, up 4.7% from April, and down 21.7% from May last year, according to the Northeast Tennessee Association of REALTORS® (NETAR). 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 the 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%.

Regional, county, city market analytics

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

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region, representing over 1,600+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at