Veterans and VA loans a big part of the housing market

Don Fenley 

GRAY – Home owners like fast, uncomplicated closings. Frequently they back away from VA loans because they believe deals are risker and a pain in the process.

According to mortgage reports, many owners, and their Realtors® think VA loans cost sellers more and are more challenging to close than other loan types. That also believe sellers must pay for the closing costs and that appraisers are always slower and undervalue homes.

Most of these common beliefs are ill founded.

Last month, a little more than one of every 10 local deals were closed with a VA loan. The precise share of total loans was 11.6%. It was a little more than the 2022 annual veteran loan average of 8.4%.

There were 626 existing home sales with VA loans last year. That’s equal to about one-month total sales. So far this year, there have been 112 VA loan sales.

A closer look at March’s 41 VA deals shows that the median sales price was $350,000. The higher than the median for the sale of all homes – $237,900. Last month’s average deal using a VA loan was $368,482.

Almost all the loans in NETAR’s prime region (Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington Co. TN) were for less than the asking price last month except for TDHA loans and owner financing.

The average discount was $5,866. Sellers who approved VA loan deals pocketed more. The average discount for the VA loans was $3,261.

Currently, veterans account for almost 10% of the region’s population. On average, they have a higher average median housing income than nonveterans. The largest segment of veterans population share is in the 35 to 54 years-old age group. They account for 30.3% of that segment while the non-veteran percentage is 30.9%.

Veterans also have a higher labor-force participation rate than the non-veteran population, and military service has proven a fertile resource for self-employment.

The NE TN and SW VA market is a magnet for veterans for the same reasons the area is attracting so many new residents. Taxes are low, schools are good, and the quality of life is outstanding. And then there’s the high-quality VA hospital and health care, a host of veteran-friendly colleges and communities.

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