Home sales up, but inventory at historic low

Hank Hayes • May 16, 2018 at 7:30 PM

GRAY — Buyers snapped up homes in April at a pace that is barely allowing new listings to sustain an already historic low inventory, according to a report released Wednesday by the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR).

NETAR President Aaron Taylor said the 11-county region monitored by the association had 3.4 months of inventory at the end of April. Only two city markets had more than a three-month supply of homes for sale.

“Six months of inventory is the benchmark for normal market conditions — something we’ve seen only twice in the past 13 months,” Taylor pointed out. “There were 928 new listings in April and 878 new accepted contracts. A 2.2 percent listing growth rate won’t appreciably improve an overall inventory already 23.8 percent lower than it was last year.

“You can get a better picture of the situation if you compare the current inventory to what it was during the same month in 2016 — a period when inventory was typical for our region.”

At the end of April, there were 2,500 active listings compared to 4,088 in April 2016.

NETAR reported there were 544 closings on single-family resales in April, up 5.4 percent from April of last year. So far this year, closings are 8.8 percent better than the first four months of 2017.

Closings on townhomes and condominium sales totaled 47, down 22 from April of last year. Year-to-date, there have been 158 closings, 14 fewer than the first four months of last year, according to NETAR.

April’s single-family home average sales price was $165,790, down $3,764 from last year. The year-to-date price trend shows it’s 6.9 percent ($10,992) better than last year. The average condo sales price was $140,168, up 3.9 percent from April last year, but the year-to-date trend is down 5 percent.

NETAR noted prices haven’t dramatically increased despite the inventory shortage — so far.

“Our big issue is availability, not affordability,” Taylor stressed. “One of our biggest concern is buyers — especially first-time buyers — will become frustrated with the availability of the product on the market and decide to continue renting or to wait for better inventory conditions. Simply put, we need more listings, and the market is prime for owners who have considered selling but are still on the sidelines.”

In Kingsport year-to-date, there have been 231 sales, up 37 from the same period last year. The average sales price has been $173,316, up $7,149.

In Sullivan County year-to-date, there have been 570 sales, up 60. The average sales price has been $166,638, up $7,826.