Pending home sales decline 21%

Don Fenley 

The number of pending existing home sales slid in December, as high prices and rising mortgage rates gave some buyers pause. Others clamored to get deals accepted before more anticipated rate increases.  

Sellers OK’d  649 contracts last month. That’s 171 fewer than November and 85 more than December last year.  

Pending sales are a leading indicator of housing activity based on signed contracts for existing single-family homes and condominium sales in the region monitored by the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) Home Sales Report. Since resales go under contract 30 to 60 days before they close, pending sales offer insight into the direction home sales will take.     

“December’s pending sales slump was expected,” NETAR President Rick Chantry said. “Some buyers are maneuvering to get a head start on the new year’s market while sellers typically wait until January and February to begin listing and marketing for the spring season. It’s also noteworthy that half of last month’s buyers paid an average of $100 over the median listing price.”  

There were 1,052 existing single-family homes on the market at the end of December. That gave the region 1.4 months of inventory.  

The typical home that closed in December was on the market for 55 days. That’s an increase of one day. The time on the market has been slowly increasing since May. When homes spend more time on the market it signals demand is softening.  

The average listing price last month was $338,830. According to a mid-month market update, the average sales price was $255,625. 

The market’s middle point for listings and prices is a more balanced market picture than averages, which are skewed by a double-digit increase of higher-priced and luxury home sales.  

December’s mid-month median listing price was $219,900, and the median sales price was $220,000. 

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