Housing market declining or stabilizing? 

Don Fenley 

GRAY, Tenn. – The housing market slowdown the media has been trumpeting for months is here. Tri-Cities home sales are down and tracking at a pre-pandemic level.  All the signposts point to decreasing consumer demand.  

The only metric that hasn’t joined the party is prices. They’re stubbornly hoovering at their 2022 high, and since inventory is still meager, they may stay that way for a while. 

The primary forward-looking metric is pending sales. Since contracts are accepted anywhere from 45 to 60 days before the sale closes, pending sales are a window to next month’s numbers. The number of contracts sellers have accepted has been on a downward trajectory since April. Compared to last year’s numbers, the decline is substantial – down 28.4%. 

The time a property sits on the market before closing is also increasing. That’s a sure sign that consumer demand is waning. 

 This is where you should step back, take a deep breath and put some context to this slowdown and how it stacks up. 

 Pending sales are back to pre-pandemic levels. They’re performing at a 2018 level and 2018 was a strong market. 

Homes are spending more time on the market before selling, but that time is less than it was this time last year. 

Prices are not at their all-time high, but they’ve come down $20,000. Despite the effect of mortgage rates, there is still internal and external demand for homes in the Tri-Cities regions. And its demand that outstrips current inventory and almost exceeds the snail’s pace growth of new inventory. October’s active inventory is nearly 500 existing homes fewer than it was in October 2020. 

In some ways, local conditions look more like a stabilizing market – not declining. 

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