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Tight inventory pushes home prices up

Hank Hayes • May 17, 2017 at 9:00 PM

GRAY — A tight housing inventory began pushing prices higher, while home sales were down slightly in April, according to a monthly report released Wednesday by the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR).

NETAR said the housing markets in Kingsport and Bristol, Tenn., are “price increase standouts” so far this year.

The average home price in Kingsport during April was $166,167, up $26,130 over the same period in 2016. In Bristol, Tenn., it was $143,343, up $16,545.

In comparison, the average home price in Johnson City was $225,298, up $2,235 over 2016.

NETAR noted there were 516 closings in April, 10 fewer than March and six fewer than April last year. The average sales price was $169,536, up $9,676 from last year.

Even though closings were down in April, the sales trend continues moving higher, according to NETAR President Eric Kistner. Closings during the first four months of this year were 6.9 percent (112 homes) higher than the same period last year, NETAR reported.

Sixty-nine condominium and townhome sales closed last month. That gave them their best four-month performance since 2013 and the best monthly average price, $134,885, since February 2014.

"It looks like swings in the number of pending homes sales moving to closing are causing the teeter-totter effect instead of market condition," Kistner observed.

April was the second month this year where closings dipped below their year-over-year levels. A pending sale usually moves to closing in about 45 days. And those closings typically account for more than half of the deals in the pipeline. But NETAR said the share of closings in April dropped to 44 percent of active pending sales.

NETAR also pointed out the number of new listings has again dropped below last year's levels. During April, Kistner said the region had 5.4 months of inventory. In March, it was 7.8 months. The year-to-date average price increase is now 5.5 percent, according to NETAR.

"It's not the skyrocketing increase you read about in some areas, but for our region it's noteworthy," Kistner added.

Single-family home sales closed in April were on the market for an average of 142 days. It was the same for the condo market.

For more, go to www.netar.us.

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