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Realtors explain how the pandemic affected the housing market

Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 10:06 PM CDT
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VERNON PARISH, La. (KALB) - The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect businesses throughout the country and the real estate industry is not any different.

“A lot of people are allowing virtual tours,” Trevor Cooley, the assisting vice president of lending with Merchants & Farmers, said. “They utilize YouTube and making videos to be able to show the homes, but there is only so much they can do.”

When the foot traffic slowed down, the industry had to make adjustments.

“Interest rates are at an all-time low right,” Katlyn Morrow, a realtor with Latter and Blum, said. “Actually, the lowest I’ve seen in my career, and I’m in my fourth year.”

Nonetheless, that could change in a matter of minutes.

"We saw an increase in one-percent within a few hours," Cooley said.

One-percent may not sound like much but do the math. One-percent of a $70,000 home is an extra $70 a month. Now multiply that $70 by 12, and that will be an $840 price change for one year. Then multiply $840 by 30 (average span of years to pay a mortgage) and your total comes to be a $25,200 price difference.

Another ex-factor for the housing market in Vernon Parish is the permanent change of station (PCS) hold at Fort Polk.

"The military was on a move freeze until June 30," Morrow said. "So, that has hurt a little bit."

"There was a strict requirement where they have to move into and live in the home shortly after the purchase is complete," Cooley said. "Some of them were not able to. So, they were worried about [that] affecting their eligibility for the loan purchase."

Morrow continued to elaborate her thoughts about the housing market.

“Are we going to have a market crash like we did in 2007 or 2008?” Marrow stated. “I don’t believe so. This is just my professional opinion. Just because our lenders have made adjustments to the credit score requirements.

So, even with the low-interest rates, not everyone will be approved to buy a home. However, if you can, realtors say go for it.

"Absolutely," Morrow answered when asked if it would be more feasible to buy a home during the pandemic. "The reason being is they are going to get a better interest rate, which is going to help their loan payment. It's going to make it a little bit lower."

"Where the rates are right now," Cooley said. "I would say now would be a good time to really start looking if you're trying to purchase or refinance a home."

You are encouraged to consult with a mortgage lender before purchasing.

Copyright 2020 KALB. All rights reserved.

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