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Front Page - Friday, September 20, 2019

Lower rates can’t overcome high prices, low inventory

As the summer draws to a close, multiple opposing factors and trends are competing to define the direction of the real estate market.

After the Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate July 31, 30-year mortgage rates continued to decline, approaching lows last seen in 2016.

Yet most experts agree these reductions are unlikely to bring sufficient relief, at least in the short term, for first-time homebuyers. The lack of affordable inventory and the persistence of historically high housing prices continue to affect the housing market, leading to lower-than-expected existing home sales at the national level.

New Listings in the greater Chattanooga area increased 1.5% to 1,316. Pending Sales were up 16% to 1,039. Inventory levels shrank 12% to 2,793 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median sales price increased 6.4% to $200,000. Days on market was up 2.4% to 43 days. Sellers were encouraged as months supply of inventory was down 18.4% to 3.1 months.

As many homeowners refinanced their homes to take advantage of declining interest rates, consumer confidence in housing was reported to be at historically high levels. Even so, Realtors will need to monitor the market for signs of continued imbalances.

Although the inventory of affordable homes at this point remains largely stable, it is stable at historically low levels, which might continue to push prices higher and affect potential buyers across the U.S.

Markets might change but Realtors remain committed to serving their clients. Navigating a market that can shift quickly is just one reason why consulting a Realtor is important. We keep a watchful eye on trends locally and nationally that might affect our clients and community. That’s Who We R.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423 698-8001.