Lack of inventory squeezing the home sales market

Hank Hayes • Apr 18, 2019 at 2:10 PM

GRAY – March home sales declined when compared to March 2018 while the average price increased, and the lack of homes for sale is the reason, according to a monthly report from the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR).

Still, NETAR noted first quarter sales and the average sales price for both single-family homes and townhomes/condos were up from the first three months of last year.

“The lack of inventory is squeezing the market,” said NETAR President Karen Randolph.

Mortgage rates have declined and settled in at accommodating levels, consumer confidence in the economy is strong, and the buyer demand is there, NETAR pointed out.

What isn’t there is inventory.

“March’s active listings were 19.4 percent lower than last year; the average sales price was a decade high and we had 4.3 months of inventory,” Randolph observed. “But even with those conditions, there were 34 more residences sold during the first three months of this year than last year, and the sales price increased.”

Months of inventory is the amount of time it would take to exhaust all homes for sale at the current sales rate. Six months inventory typically reflects balanced market conditions, according to NETAR.

For the first quarter, the average home sales price was $176,484, up $3,057 from last year’s first quarter. There were 568 single-family resales in March, down 20 from March 2018.

NETAR noted that while both the single-family and townhome/condo markets are still growing, the growth rate is slowing.

First quarter housing market data from Realtor Property Resource shows new listings in the 11-county region are up 4.1 percent, and median days on the market across the region is 100, down from 109 last year. The days on the market range from a high of 192 days in Johnson County to a low of 61 days in Sullivan County.

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