Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 21, 2014

Real estate on moderate, stable pace

The real estate industry is off to a great start so far this year. The same factors that catalyzed widespread market recovery in 2012 and 2013 are likely to continue in 2014, though perhaps at a more moderate pace. That’s not a bad thing, since the market is returning to a stable, healthy state. Potential trends to watch for in 2014 include increased seller activity, more new construction, and fewer foreclosures on the market. Inventory is another metric to watch this year.

After digesting our 2013 Annual Report, which is based on our local, residential Multiple Listing Service data, I’m even more encouraged about the Greater Chattanooga’s market indications. In the 2012 to 2013 comparison, there are significant positives to share.

For the year, New Listings were up 5.5 percent, demonstrating a boost in seller confidence. And buyer activity displayed that same assurance, with the year’s Pending Sales up 4.9 pecent. Sellers are listing and buyers are buying. For 2014, we anticipate this behavior to continue as consumer confidence remains on an upward path.

Another indication that more sellers will enter the market and boost local inventory is interest rates. These rates remain attractive and should remain below their long-term average. However, rates are expected to creep higher in 2014. Thus, we expect buyers to take advantage of current rates sooner rather than later this year.

Comparing 2012 to 2013, prices marched higher. By the close of 2013, the Median Sales Price was up 2.1 percent to $139,000 and the Average Sales Price up 2.3 percent to $168,753. And with only one month behind us in 2014, we continue in a positive direction with prices. Since December, the Median Sales Price increased to $138,500, which is a year-to-date 6.5 percent increase. And the Average Sales Price increased to $171,908, which is a year-to-date 9.8 percent increase.

Given how far the market has come, it’s a good time for folks to reassess their situation. Many who were hesitant to sell in recent years might now find themselves in a completely different position. Getting a fresh comparative market analysis might be a good idea. And despite so many online resources available to consumers, a Realtor is your best source for current, accurate market data.

Another item on our radar for 2014 is the political scene and its influence on the industry. Politicians are gearing up for midterm elections, so pay close attention to campaign messaging as relates to real estate or mortgage financing. Job growth is still fundamental and is likely to dominate this election cycle, and we anticipate those messages to continue to have a positive impact on market conditions.

The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors, a regional organization with more than 1,400 members, is one of more than 1,800 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. The Greater Chattanooga Association of 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.