Is the housing market still up?

Hank Hayes • Feb 16, 2018 at 7:00 PM

GRAY — Northeast Tennessee's housing market began 2018 with a double-digit increase in average resale prices and an 8.5 percent sales increase, according to a report released Thursday by the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR).

What was the reason for the increase?

NETAR President Aaron Taylor credited January's market increases to higher interest rates on the horizon and continued strong demand in the 11-county region monitored by NETAR.

"Changing interest rates always move the market, and the end of last week marked the fifth straight week the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate increased," Taylor noted.

Interest rates have reached their highest level since December 2016, and all indicators point to more increases, he added.

"Buyers who had been holding back are now more motivated than they were during the fourth quarter of last year," Taylor pointed out.

What are the current real estate market conditions?

New home inventory has been coming into the market since December, but overall things are still tight, according to NETAR.

"In January, the active inventory was 16 percent below what it was this time last year, and we had five months of inventory," Taylor said. That's the number of months it would take to exhaust active listing at January's sales rate. The area market has had less than six months of inventory since April last year. Six months is considered normal real estate market conditions.

According to NETAR, there were 394 closings on single-family resales for the month, 31 more than January last year. The average sales price was $170,245. "That's a $17,551 improvement over January last year," Taylor stressed.

Closings on condominium and townhomes were down from their accelerated pace during the last quarter, but still an improvement over last year. NETAR listed 27 closings, up three from last year, and the average sales price was $124,907, down $2,535 from January last year.

The average single-family home sale that closed in January was on the market for 133 days. The average for a condo or townhome was 153 days. "Those are the averages, but competitively priced homes are selling much faster," Taylor said.

How did Kingsport/Sullivan County do in January?

In Kingsport, there were 43 sales, down four from January last year. The average sales price was $164,870, down $2,896 from last year.

In Sullivan County, there were 124 sales, up 12 from January last year. The average sales price was $177,771, up $20,284.

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