May home prices hit new highs, sales down  

Don Fenley 

Northeast Tennessee’s home sales are slowing, but not prices. They hit new highs last month.  

“While it’s inevitable that rising prices will slow down in the coming months, it hasn’t happened yet,” said Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) President Rick Chantry. “Many of the metrics NETAR uses for monthly reports show declines when compared to last year. But last year was the strongest local housing market anyone can remember. Month-to-month comparisons tell a story that in some ways is typical of the peak home buying and selling season.” 

For example, the median listing price has increased every month this year. Last month it was almost $19,000 higher than in April. May’s typical sales price was $30,000 higher than April. And although new listings and fewer sales have made a slight inventory improvement, it’s still squeaky tight, he added.  

At the end of May, the region had 1.05 months of inventory. Balanced market conditions are five to six months. 

There were 770 closings last month, down 34 from April and 58 fewer than May last year. Last month’s typical sales price of $250,000 was up 31.6% ($40,100) from last year. The average was $303,622, up 30.9% ($71,598). High-end sales continue skewing the average price higher. There were 101 sales in the $500,000 and above price range last month. 

So far this year,3,600 existing home sales have closed. That’s 138 fewer than during the first five months of last year. “From a trend perspective, we’re seeing sales decline and continued price increases,” Chantry said.  

The typical home sale that closed last month was on the market for 43 days. That’s the amount of time from when the property was listed until the deal closed. The average listing went under contract in 13 days. 

May’s regional sales trend didn’t apply to more than half of the local city and community sub-markets. Eight had increases from last year. Most of those with increasing sales were the smaller markets. And all but four had double-digit year-over-year price increases.  

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