The greater Chattanooga region fell in line with the national trend of declining home sales in September with a 10.8 percent decrease.
For the month of September, there were 784 closed units compared to 879 for the same period in 2016. This decrease continues the developing trend of up-and-down home sales this year.
Over the past six months, sales have been up three months and down three months. Year to date (YTD), the region stands at .1 percent increase over the first 9 months of 2016.
This sales decrease comes as no surprise to experienced students of the market. The number of homes available for sale stood at 3,067, which is a 20.5 percent decrease compared to last year.
The number of new listings coming to market also declined by 1.6 percent. This shrinking inventory has been putting pressure on sales all year, and September was an example of low supply suppressing sales.
The homes that did sell sold quickly. The average days on the market (time from listing until an acceptable contract is received) decreased to a short 56 days in September. This is in comparison to 60 days on the market, which is the average YTD.
Suppressed sales results did not have a negative impact on prices. In fact, home prices continued the march upward. The median price of a home in September reached $180,000, which is a 6.6 percent increase over 2016, and the average price came in at $216,165 for a 11.4 percent increase.
While not an exact measure of appreciation, the average price YTD stands at $210,093, which is a 8.9 percent increase. This increase in prices, paired with relatively stable interest rates, have resulted in the affordability index declining by 10.6 percent for the year.
No one has a crystal ball that can predict the future of home sales in the greater Chattanooga region, but we do have one indicator that gives us clues.
Through the multiple listing service of the Greater Chattanooga Realtors, one can measure the number of “pending” contracts. These are properties which have a contract to sale but have not yet closed.
For the month of September, we experienced a 2.8 percent decrease in pending sales, which follows a 4.2 percent decrease in August. This would indicate that sales for the following 60 days should be flat or decrease to the previous year. To underscore the accuracy of this tool, for the year pending, sales are up .3 percent and actual closed sales are up .1 percent.
Interest rates are low, unemployment is low and the overall economic outlook is healthy. Do not be deterred. This is a great time to buy or sell real estate with the assistance of a professional member of the Great Chattanooga Realtors.
Greater Chattanooga Realtors is “The Voice of Real Estate” in Greater Chattanooga. It 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. Greater Chattanooga Realtors 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.