April home sales were down by 17.9% in Northeast Tennessee, but sale prices are up 14.9% according to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR).

According to NETAR’s April home sales report, 543 residential sales in the region closed in April. That number is down 118 from April last year and down 25 from the previous month.

NETAR’s monthly trend report reflects housing market conditions in Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties in northeast Tennessee, as well as Scott, Lee, Wise, and Washington counties in southwest Virginia. It also includes market data from the region’s primary city markets.

The average sales price of $195,291 was up $25,398 from last April. So far this year, 2,099 existing home sales have closed, 99 fewer than during the first four months of 2019, the report said.

“April’s sales decline is a big number for a market accustomed to record-level sales, but there is more to the housing market story than that number,” said NETAR President Kristi Bailey. “Because closings usually take about 30 to 45 days, April is the first full month we see the effects delivered by the health crisis. May and June may deliver more shocks, but real estate has not shut down.”

Bailey said just over $106 million worth of real estate was sold locally in April, and sellers accepted 681 new contracts.

“That is only 33 fewer than April last year. One issue causing such percentages in our real estate market is an already low inventory,” Bailey said. “Some sellers have held back on listing properties during this time, and buyers are just waiting to grab up homes when they come on the market because the interest rates are at historic lows, causing part of the problem. We have more pending sales awaiting closing than there was April a year ago. Most housing economists think sales will rebound in the third and fourth quarters.”

Single-family sales accounted for 501 closings in April, and that number is down 116 from April last year, the report said. The average sales price was $200,067, which is a $26,648, or 15.4%, increase from last year.

Forty-two condominium/townhome resales closed last month, down two from last year. The average sales price of $138,327 was up 14.8% – a $17,868 gain for sellers, the report said.

At the end of April, the local housing market had 3.4 months of inventory. Active listings were 25 percent lower than last year, and 601 new listings came on the market.

Sales closed in April also spent less time on the market, the report said. The average for a single-family resale was 109 days. The average last year was 132 days. For townhomes and condos, the average was 90 days — down from 157 last April.

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