Property sales, mortgages rise to record high in Hamilton County

The value of property sales and mortgages rose to a record high in Hamilton County last year as record low-interest rates spurred more and higher sales of homes, apartments and businesses.

Hamilton County Register of Deeds Marc Gravitt reported Wednesday that more than $3.3 billion of real estate conveyances were completed in 2020 and more than $5.5 billion of mortgage loans were recorded last year.

"With the continued high demand for both commercial and residential real estate, the extremely low-interest rates available, Hamilton County's real estate market continues to be strong, which benefits all of Hamilton County," Gravitt said.

The growth in real estate sales and loans boosted the state-mandated Conveyance Tax and Mortgage Tax collected by the county to over $18.8 million during calendar 2020.

In December, the conveyance tax rose to a new monthly high of more than $2.24 million, breaking the previous monthly high of $1.99 million set this past July.

photo File photo / Hamilton County Register of Deeds Marc Gravitt

For all of 2020, Gravitt said the total number of recorded documents in his office during 2020 totaled 71,957 sets, with 7,111 in December alone. A set can be a single page document, or as is usual the case multiple pages, which are uploaded into the Register's system.

The top transactions in 2020 included the $63.15 million sale of the Bluebird Row apartments at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, the $46.8 million sales of the Parc 1346 Apartments on Gunbarrel Road, and the $44.5 million sale of the Marina Pointe Apartments in Hixson.

Sales were buoyed by the drop in interest rates spurred by monetary easing policies at the Federal Reserve Bank designed to cushion the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Mortgage rates fell to an all-time low during 2020 and began the new year with the average rate for a 30-year mortgage falling to 2.65% during the week ending Jan. 7, according to a survey by the government-sponsored mortgage-finance company Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 15-year mortgage fell to 2.16 percent in the first week of the year.

- Compiled by Dave Flessner