Local housing demand ticks up, sales plummet 

Don Fenley 

NE TN – SW VA home sales declined sharply last month despite a slight increase in demand. At the same time, prices were up from last year but retreated from their June level.  

“Higher mortgage payments continued to put pressure on what buyers will spend while  the local monthly price trend is stabilizing,” said Jan Stapleton, president of the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR). “For the first time this year, closings were down in the affordable, move-up and luxury markets.” 

There were 592 closings in NETAR’s early July sales count, a decline of 280 from June and 228 fewer than July last year. The sales number typically increase with the mid-month update when closing reported too late for the first-of-the-month count are included.  

July’s median sales price was $265,700, down $1,800 from June and $19,700 higher than July last year. The median is the point where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. July’s average sales price was $305,402. It was $312,445 in June and $283,900 July last year. 

Last month sales in the affordable market were down 28.4 percent from last year. 

The move-up market is where most activity occurs. Sales in that sector were down 18.1 percent from last year. The biggest decline was 24.5 percent in the $300K-$399,999K price range. That price range’s performance is typically strongest in the move-up market, Stapleton said.  

There were 11 fewer luxury home sales than July last year.  

Demand – as measured by the time a property sits on the market before closing  – made a slight increase from June’s total. Time on marker declined to 49 days from June’s 51-day level. It was 44 days last year. A decline in time on market signals an increase in demand. NETAR’s days on the market is calculated the day a property is listed until it closes. Many of June’s sales were going from listing to accepted contract two weeks or less.  

A better demand indicator will be available at mid-month with NETAR’s Pending Sales Index.  

Sellers reduced their asking price on half of last month’s sales. The average discount was $21,770. June’s average discount was $10,000.  

Inventory was stagnant again last month with an increase of 11 listings from June and 19 fewer than last year. July’s total active inventory was 1,310 listings.  

At the same time, inventory and sales in the new home market are slowly increasing.  

There were 487 new construction single-family homes, townhomes and condos listed in early Aug. During the same period in July there were 327. The city of Kingsport has the most new construction listings. 

Most county and community submarkets market conditions follow the regional pattern of fewer sales and higher prices.  

The year-to-year sales exceptions included increases in Carter and Johnson counties and Bluff City, Bulls Gap, Elizabethton, Gray, Mountain City and Mt. Carmel and Surgoinsville in the community submarkets. 

The only year-over-year price decreases were in Johnson, Unicoi and Scott counties. In the community markets there were price drops in Blountville, Erwin, Gray, Piney Flats and Surgoinsville.  

A full listing for July’s regional, county and community sales and prices analytics can be found on the NETAR website at: https://netar.us/july-2023-market-analytics/ 

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