October's existing home sales in the Kingsport urban area increased 29.5 percent over last month according to TN-VA MLS data. The spike is almost triple the 10.5 percent national increase reported by the National Association of Realtors on Monday.
Last month's sale of 123 homes was a 2009 high mark for Kingsport. The average monthly number of sales so far this year is 87 units.
Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors' chief economist, attributed much of October's gain in national sales to “buyers rushing to beat the deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit that was scheduled to expire at the end of this month." A similar dynamic is at work on the local market. Yun thinks similarly robust sales may be occurring in November. “With such a sale spike, a measurable decline should be anticipated in December and early next year before another surge in spring and early summer,” he said.
Although October was a stellar month, the year-to-date sales volume shows Kingsport's market is under performing when compared to last year. During the same period in 2008 local home sales were 18 percent higher. October also reversed two-months of declining local sales volumes.
A combination of unsold inventory, reduced prices, federal programs to lower mortgage rates and bring more buyers into the market is seen as the primary forces driving a local and national housing market recovery.
October's average local sales price was $140,475, a $2,501 drop from September and $6,483 less than it was during the same year-to-date period last year. Average sales prices in Kingsport have declined since June, which was the high point of the year so far - $148,544.
The national average existing housing sale price of $173,100 was down 7 percent from a year earlier. During the same period the Kingsport urban area's average price was down 4 percent. The average sales price across the Northeast Tennessee region during October was $140,974, 3.5 percent below what it was last year.
Read the full report the local housing market's performance in the Wednesday edition of the Kingsport Times-News.