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NET housing market had best sales year since 2008

Hank Hayes • Jan 16, 2019 at 6:00 PM

GRAY — Northeast Tennessee’s housing market finished 2018 with its best sales year since 2008 and the best annual average price increase in four years, according to a report released Wednesday by the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR).

NETAR noted the total sales volume for residential resales was also a record high of $1.42 billion — a 28 percent increase from last year and the third straight year it has exceeded a billion dollars.

There were 6,592 closings on single-family resales in 2018, up 5.7 percent. The annual average sales price was $173,379, up 4.2 percent from 2017. Closings on condominium and townhome resales totaled 554, down 5.6 percent from last year, while the average sales price increased 5.3 percent to $127,145.

December closings were down 11.7 percent from December last year, and the average sales price was down 1.1 percent.

“This is a remarkable year-end report for the 11-county area monitored by the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors’ Trends Report,” NETAR President Karen Randolph said.

While there were reports of a slowing economy, the seasonal housing market decline and a softening sales growth rate, the region’s market powered through a tight inventory for its best year in a decade, NETAR said.

Despite two-and-a-half years of record sales and price increases, an average wage earner in the region’s two largest markets — Sullivan and Washington counties — continues to have the buying power to purchase a median-price home.

Last year’s annual average sales price was a $36,204 improvement since the bottom of the market during the recession. It’s also $19,952 better than the 2008 annual average, the year before the recession hit the local market.

All but three of the city markets monitored by NETAR had sales increases, and six of the seven had an annual average sales price increase. Only two counties had sales decreases, and all but one recorded a sales price increase.

The local market finished the year with 3.9 months of inventory.

“We are anticipating some inventory relief in the new year, but everything points to a condition only slightly better than they are now,” Randolph pointed out.

Inventory, mortgage rates, job creatio, and wage growth will be key factors during the coming year, she added.

The average single-family closing in December was on the market for 114 days. The average time on the market for a condo closing was 108 days.

City and county market share, December’s year-over-year data, year-to-date closings and average sales prices can be found on the NETAR website’s market analytics page at https://netar.us/market-analytics.

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