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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, February 27, 2015

January 2015 residential market recap


Realtor Association President's Message



Travis Close

It’s already evident that 2015 will be marked by talk of changing mortgage rates and regulations. Rates should stay low, but consumers and finance experts alike believe we’re at or near rate bottoms. Early indications point to more sales, more listings, more new construction, and more excitement.

2015 is not expected to be the overblown land grab of the early 2000s, but it should feel like a healthy market, which, in and of itself, might feel like an odd sensation to real estate practitioners accustomed to the boom and bust of the 21st century. Every Realtor I’ve crossed path with recently report 2014 was their busiest year in recent history, and this year’s activity for them indicates 2015 will be even stronger.

For January, New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 10.4 percent to 1,028. Pending Sales were down 28.4 percent to 341. Inventory levels shrank 14.1 percent to 4,275 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 9.7 percent to $152,000, which is a number we haven’t seen in Greater Chattanooga since last spring. The Average Sales Price also was up 11.9 percent to $190,476, which is the highest figure in more than a year.

Also related to price, our market is holding steady with sellers receiving an average of 92.5 percent of the initial asking price. Sellers are pricing their homes correctly from the onset. This statistic is further confirmed by the decrease we’re seeing in Days on Market, which is down 4.4 percent to 131 days.

Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 15.5 percent to 7.1 months. Nationally, new home construction was higher in January than a year ago; however, that momentum seems to have stalled, partially due to winter weather affecting such activity.

The National Association of Realtors recently conducted a Realtors Confidence Index Survey for the single-family market. Realtors surveyed expressed confidence in the market for the next six months. In Tennessee and Georgia, Realtors rated in the 50- to 75-range on a scale of 100 for confidence that the market is improving. In looking at our local upward trends of new listings and prices, I tend to agree 2015 is off to a strong start.

The 3 percent down payment programs from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should help potential new homeowners, but in a recent member survey by the Independent Community Bankers of America, three-fourths of respondents stated that regulatory burdens are hurting their ability to loan money. The wider economy shows slight wage increases and gas prices near five-year lows but rising along with extended daylight and buyer demand. These various economic pushes and pulls can turn stagnant markets into exciting ones. It’s all in how you look at it.

The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors is “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,500 members, and is one of more than 1,400 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.