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Front Page - Friday, April 14, 2017

Hamilton home sales, prices take flight in first quarter

The first quarter of 2017 is in the record books, and it’s been a record setting start to the year.

Home sales continued on an upward pace in March after taking a step backwards in the first month of the year. There were 860 closed sales for the month of March, which moved the first quarter ahead of last year by 4.8 percent.

The second area to continue the record setting pace are home prices. For the month of March, the median price jumped 19.2 percent compared to last year and the average home price moved up a whopping 14.2 percent when compared to March of last year. To put this in dollar figures, the average price of a sold home in the Greater Chattanooga region was $206,837 in March, which moved the first quarter average price to $201,129 – an 11.3 percent increase over last year.

Everything was not on the positive side of the home sales statistics. For starters, fewer homes came to market in March. A total of 1,248 new units entered the market, which represents a 6.5 percent decrease when compared to the same month last year. This decrease moved the first quarter down 8.6 percent when compared to the same period in 2016.

With new inventory shrinking and sales increasing, it should not come as a surprise to learn that the average available inventory of homes available for sale would also decrease for the month. In March, the region saw 2,988 homes available for sale compared to 3,884 last year, which equates to a 23.1 percent decrease.

One of the “negative” numbers that actually points to a positive trend is the number of days a home stays on the market until it’s sold. For the month of March, the average home that sold took 70 days to go under contract, which is down 4.1 percent to last year’s 73 days. Therefore, the first quarter closes with the average time under contract to sale falling to 69 days to – a 5.5 percent decrease.

With the diverse results for the month and first quarter, one may be wondering what to make of these numbers. If you’re considering selling your home at any time in the next two to three years, NOW is the time to consult an experienced Realtor and see what your home may sell for. With limited inventory, a top price should be garnered for your home this spring.

If you are a home buyer waiting for the breadth of inventory to improve, that does not appear to be in the cards – at least in the near future. The other item working against you in this appreciating market, with increasing interest rates, is a reduction in home affordability. Revisit your list of “must haves” and get into the market this year – and lock in your rate for 30 years before they increase again.

The Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,700 members and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors.

GCAR services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. Go to www.GCAR.net for more information.