Tri-Cities home prices up, sales tumble to pre-pandemic level 

Don Fenley 

GRAY, TN – Tri-Cities home prices defied predictions of big reductions in January while sales tumbled to pre-pandemic levels.  

“December’s pending sales signaled another dip and that’s exactly what we’re seeing,” said Jan Stapleton, Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) president. “It was the seventh month that sales adjusted to a market returning to seasonal behaviors and reacting to a barrage of media reports about plummeting home prices. What we’re seeing in sales performance is typical of the first month of the year during normal conditions, she added. There was also a solid increase in new listings and active inventory. “That will give early buyers more choices as things heat up for the prime home buying and selling season.” 

January’s median sales price for existing homes and townhomes was $221,000. That’s up 16.7% from last year and down $9,000 from December. “Prices have been in the $245,000 to $221,000 range for the last seven months,” Stapleton said. The median sales price benchmarks the market’s point where half of the homes sold for more and the other half sold for less. 

There were 416 sales last month, down 33.1% from last year, and 132 fewer than the previous month. 

 “Home sales are now at the same level they were at the beginning of the year in 2018 when the median sales price was $167,383,” Stapleton said. It would not be surprising to see softer sales next month. The market typically picks up in March, she added. 

At the end of January, there were 1,208 active listings on the market. That’s 96 fewer than in December and 315 more than the region had at the beginning of last year. That equals 1.7 months of inventory at the current sales pace. Balanced market conditions are five to six months of inventory. 

The average home that closed in December was on the market for 59 days. That means the typical house sold 29 days after it was listed. NETAR’s Days on the Market metric begins the day a property is listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) until the sale is closed, or the listing is withdrawn.  

January’s time on the market was the biggest increase since February 2020. The more time a home is on the market before closing indicates that demand is decreasing. Last January the average home was on the market for 55 days. 

Market activity in the region’s city and community submarkets varied widely last month. Sales declined in all but three markets while prices increased in all but three. There was quite a bit of skewed year-over-year numbers in the smaller markets. 

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