Long view shows sales marching toward pre-pandemic level

Don Fenley 

The NE TN – SW VA single-family existing housing market is weathering the throes of record-high mortgage rates, persistent inventory shortage, inflation, and higher prices without huge upsets. That stability in these chaotic times is an encouraging sign. But there’s more to the housing economy story for those who want long-term context.

September’s monthly annualized sales numbers from NETAR show the market is continuing its slow but steady decline to pre-pandemic levels. Remember, the three years leading up to the pandemic were  good years that say prices and sales increase.

Monthly annualized sales offer a more accurate picture of the market’s performance over a year. It provides a better understanding of the underlying trends and patterns at play for data-based decisions about investments and resource allocations.

Annualized monthly data pegged the current market’s peak in February 2022. Since then, sales have been ebbing at the rate of a little better than one percent per annualized month. The decline was driven by a fast inventory absorption as the market’s post-pandemic phase began running its course.

 The trend line moves at a snail’s pace in actual sales numbers. Last month was down 22 sales in the 12 months ending in September for a 1.8 percent decline from the previous period.

Currently, that total is pacing the annualized sales for the beginning of the prime buying and selling season in 2019. A pretty good bet to where the market will end up this year, at or just below where it was in 2019.

The local market averaged 686 sales a month in 2019. Since then, the median sales price has increased $81,000 for a 71 percent increase.  

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