A month ago, Jeff Williams predicted the coronavirus outbreak could impact the local housing market in a surprising way.
He said the low interest rates would make it an ideal time to invest in a home.
Williams, an associate broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodnett Cooper Real Estate, said even he is surprised at how strong the market has been.
“I’m just blown away by what I’ve seen,” he said. “The market’s doing really well in Glynn County.”
While the market isn’t nearly as strong as a year ago, Williams said it doesn’t seem like the region is in the middle of a pandemic.
“Everybody expected a drop, but it’s a lot stronger than many thought it would be,” he said.
On April 30, he said there were 64 closings in the previous 10 days, and 46 of those closings were for homes $300,000 and less. And many of those customers were younger families, many of whom were first-time home buyers.
The surprise is Williams said he expected the market would be more in the $200,000 or less price range.
“The first-time buyers are still out there,” he said. “There are a lot of people chasing sellers right now.”
There have also been four sales of more than $1 million each in the past week, he said.
And out of the estimated 1,100 properties on the market in the Golden Isles, Williams said 10 percent of them are under contract.
Many of the new buyers are coming from Northern states who may be tired of living in large cities, with the traffic, crime and higher taxes.
It’s possible interest rates for a 30-year loan could dip below 3 percent in coming weeks, which makes it even more important to lock in a low rate. It’s also an opportunity for people to refinance their homes, he said.
“Even at 3.5 percent, it’s an incredible rate,” he said.
The surprisingly strong market is also having a ripple effect for appraisers, insurance companies and lenders.
Al McKinnon, president of SouthCoast Bank & Trust, said his bank has seen a lot of refinancing requests because interest rates are so low.
There are also a number of mortgage applications “in the pipeline,” he said.
“The low interest rates will help new sales,” he said.
McKinnon said it will be nice for him and his staff to interact with customers face-to-face, but he is willing to wait until he feels comfortable his staff and customers are safe.
“We’ll reopen when it’s time,” he said. “We’re still able to be a full-service bank.”