By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®
If the last few months are an indication of the temperature of housing markets across the country, a period of relative calm can be expected during the last three months of the year. A trend of market balance is emerging as we approach the end of 2018, and this is normal for the Greater Chattanooga market. Prices are still rising in most areas, and the number of homes for sale is still low, but there is a general shrinking of year-over-year percentage change gaps in sales, inventory, and prices.
New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 15.5 percent to 1,171, which is an encouraging sign after last month’s reported -6.7 percent. Year-to-date New Listings are up 3.8 percent.
Pending Sales shrank slightly and were down 1.9 percent to 829. Year-to-date Pending Sales are up 2.4 percent. Closed sales rose again this month by 5.3 percent to 860 and year-to-date up 2.6 percent.
Inventory levels shrank 5.9 percent to 2,963 units. Days on Market was down 12.7 percent to 48 days and year-to-date down 15.3 percent. However, Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 7.9 percent to 3.5 months. While still lower than ideal, this slight drop in Months Supply of Inventory is the only month-to-month change in the single digits our region has seen in more than a year.
Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 4.2 percent to $184,000. The Average Sales Price increased 1.2 percent to $213,306. The gradual, continued price increases are a result of low inventory, which can trigger multiple offers in some areas. Plus, the local market is holding steady at a mid- to upper-95 Percent of Original List Price Received.
In October, stock markets experienced a setback, but that does not necessarily translate to a decline in the real estate market. The national unemployment rate has been below 4.0 percent for three straight months and during five of the last six months. This news is exceptional for industries related to real estate. Meanwhile, homebuilder confidence remains positive, homeownership rates have increased in the key under-35 buyer group and prices, though still rising, have widely reduced the march toward record highs.