PRINCETON — Shutdowns and cutbacks have hit many industries since the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to send employees home and take precautions, but real estate is seeing more activity despite it.
Locally, real estate agents are seeing more activity then they saw last year before COVID-19 arrived in the United States and dramatically impacted the nation’s economy.
“I’ve been hearing about that,” said Mike Hazlewood, president of the Mercer Tazewell County Board of R E A L A T O R S . “There’s people from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and even New York who have been inquiring about properties here and made the journey to look at them; and the local real estate market is ahead of the same time last year with volume. Even here the volume is up; not a huge amount, but it’s up. Nobody would have ever thought that; and prices are about three percent up and volume’s up about four percent. Everything is between two and five percent, but the shocking thing is it’s up.”
These increases are surprising when the pandemic is considered.
“You know, who would ever thought with the COVID and the lockdown and all that, the real estate market would be making gains over last year,” Hazlewood said.
The pandemic is helping move the trend of more people seeking new homes, but “interest rates being low have helped immensely,” he said.
Steve Yost of Coldwell Banker Yost Real Estate said he is witnessing a lot of activity in the local real estate market, too.
“It’s as busy now as it has been in 20 years and it’s having a lot of activity from out-of-state buyers,” Yost said, adding he has been in the business for about 35 years. “A high percentage of them go online and are looking for properties in small market areas.”
Many of the people seeking homes in the region are moving away from larger urban areas and “desiring a smaller, easier lifestyle,” he said.
“We live in one of the best areas in the world,” Yost said. “I mean, we have everything you need. Our people are friendly, we’ve got good schools, we’ve got good churches, we’ve just got everything.”
Other people living south of West Virginia want to move north so they can enjoy a cooler climate. Yost said he has seen retirees looking for homes in the region while “prices are inching upward, the values are inching upward.”
“We had a gentleman that made an offer on a house this week,” Yost said “He lives on the beach, but he wants to come up here and spend his winters to enjoy a different climate.”
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