HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – The housing market is staying strong amid the coronavirus pandemic, and Chip and Karen Smithwick are ready to move forward. The couple officially put their Chesapeake home on the market Monday and are preparing to close the sale on a new home.
“We’re ready,” said Karen Smithwick. “We are so excited. We are.”
It wasn’t until recently the couple was able to get to that point. They initially planned on putting their home up for sale earlier this year. Then the coronavirus hit and those plans were put on hold - until now.
“Because of the pandemic, interest rates are really great and it’s just a good market for buyers and sellers,” said Karen Smithwick.
Realtor Anna Paduhovich with the Anna Paduhovich Team said because of the pandemic mortgage rates are at a record low, around 3%.
She said the housing market is actually doing better during the COVID crisis.
“Pending sales every night have been up versus pre-quarantine, between 25 and 60%,” Paduhovich said.
Part of the growth is because realtors are offering more virtual tours. Paduhovich said 20% of the homes she’s selling right now, no one has actually walked through the front door.
“COVID hasn’t slowed our market down; it’s only changed the way we do business,” she said.
While mortgage rates are low right now, Paduhovich said it may be harder to get a loan. Potential buyers need higher credit scores and larger down payments.
There is some good news for those looking to stay in their home but need help. The federal government and banks are offering forbearance on mortgage payments.
Meantime, the Smithwicks are dealing with a different sense of worry as buyers.
“The nervousness for me it doesn’t stem from the pandemic,” Karen Smithwick said. “It just stems from a change.”