Home sales, prices shrug off winter doldrums  

Don Fenley 

GRAY, TN – The Tri-Cities housing market began shrugging off its winter doldrums in February.   

Sales reversed a seven-month decline and prices perked up after an eight-month stagnant stretch.  

“Sales are up, prices are up, demand indicators are spiking,” said Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) President Jan Stapleton. But the positive sales and price numbers in last month’s report are balanced by others that are not budging. For instance. Months of inventory has been flat for eight months, and active inventory has been stuck in the 1,300 listings range for six months.”  

There were 431 sales last month. That’s nine more than January and 156 fewer than February last year. Sales will likely be higher for the mid-month pending sales report to account for closings reported too late to be included in the early February count.  

Last month’s median sales price increased to $240,000 from $221,000 in January. This time last year it was $210,000. February’s price is $10,000 below the all-time high of $250,000 set in May last year.   

An early pending sales count shows they absorbed last month’s new listings and depleted some of the active inventory that had been building from the previous month. And that happened despite higher mortgage rates returning with a vengeance. Last week’s average for a 30-year fixed-rate loan was 6.7 percent after settling near 6 percent in early February.   

Higher inflation, a strong housing market, and policy changes at the FED are casting doubts on outlooks for lower rates during the peak season.  

At month’s end, the region had 1.6 months of inventory. That’s how long it would have taken to sell everything on the market at the February sales pace.  

The typical home sale that closed last month was on the market for 53, down from 59 days in January. When the time a property is on the market declines, it’s a signal that demand increased. This time last year the median days on the market were 58 days.

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 1,800+ 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