NETAR President Eric Kistner called third quarter gains modest but noteworthy.
"They were only up by 11 sales compared to last year, but they were slightly higher every month while second quarter sales were lower each month," Kistner said in a news release.
So far this year, 4,706 sales of previously owned, single-family homes have closed — 80 more than the first nine months of last year.
NETAR reported the first half of the year saw some buyer fatigue driven by the protracted inventory shortage. But reports of a strengthening economy, stock market highs, steadily increasing home prices and small mortgage rate increases combined to motivate buyers who wanted to lock in a lower rate and take advantage of current prices.
Still, September's active listing inventory was down 22 percent from last year, and the 11-county region monitored by NETAR's Trends Report had 4.9 months of inventory.
"We're seeing a slight increase in new listings, and although the inventory is still tight, there has been some modest improvement," Kistner noted.
There were 540 closings in September, 53 fewer than August but six more than September last year. The average sales price was $172,603 – a $1,219 improvement from last year.
"It was also the second highest monthly average price since 2008," Kistner pointed out. September was the 13th straight month the average price has improved, he added.
There were 37 condominium closings last month, 12 fewer than last year. The average sales price was $117,748, up $3,975. So far this year, condo sales are up 17.2 percent, and the average price is up 3.8 percent, according to NETAR.
Median days on the market for sales that closed in September was 87 days. It was 103 days September last year.
In Kingsport, NETAR reported 53 sales, down five. The average home sale price was $145,639, down $12,042.