Feb. home sales flat, prices continue double-digit gains
Home sales were flat in February, while the persistent low inventory kept prices in double-digit gain territory. There was one fewer closing than there were on Jan. 2 and nine fewer than February last year.
“So far, the housing market has held up, and consumers have been resilient despite the fluid economic conditions created by the crisis in Ukraine, high inflation reports, and higher fuel prices,” said Rick Chantry, president of the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR). “Mortgage rates have declined for two weeks in a row giving buyers a little more leverage against higher prices.” However, FED Chairman Jerome Powell has offered an unusual preview of anticipated policy action. He says he will recommend a quarter-point interest rate increase when the FED meets later this month. The central bank does not set mortgage rates, but its actions often influence them. And, some influential voices inside the Fed want to target mortgage rates, specifically, for an upward push, according to press reports.
There were 566 closings last month, down 1.6% from last year. The typical sales price of $205,000 is up 20.6% from last year. The average sales price of $255,599 is up 17.8%.
March is usually the first month of the prime home buying and selling season, and it began with a record low inventory. The active inventory of 761 listings is 25.2% lower than last year’s already tight inventory. The region had a 0.9-month inventory at the end of February. Some local city and community submarkets had a little better than a half month’s inventory.
An early count of new listings shows they made a small increase last month, but new pending sales outnumbered them, so it was no relief for the overall inventory.
The average home sales that closed in February spend 59 days on the market, up three days from the January average.
NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region, representing over 1,600+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at https://netar.us