Real Estate Slowdown Or Normalization?

Friday, March 21, 2014

After several months of increased home sales and prices, a drop off from what is considered to be “normal” is easy to be confused with a market slowdown. However, if one follows the financial trends, it is more likely that the greater Chattanooga region is experiencing a first quarter bout of “normalization.”

As mortgage delinquencies fade, banks are listing bargain-priced product less often. That means investor activity – which accounts for a substantial market share – is moderating. That's not to say that rates and prices aren't still attractive to owner-occupant buyers. They most certainly are. Some short-term volatility is expected as part of a normal market readjustment. 

Closed sales were down 15.1 percent from last year’s numbers, closing with 417 residential units sold. New listings in the Chattanooga region decreased 2.0 percent to 934. Inventory levels shrank 5.3 percent to 4,681 units.

Prices remained determined as the Median Sales Price increased 17.6 percent to $143,500. Days on Market were up 7.0 percent to 137 days. Absorption rates improved as Months Supply of Inventory was down 4.7 percent to 8.2 months. 

Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors President Vicki Trapp said, “The economy has more or less shuffled along, despite some climate-induced surprises to job growth and new construction. There is no denying the fact that we've now seen 47 straight months of private job growth, creating 8.5 million new payrolls. There's still work to be done. Thankfully, with such low inventory levels, many builders are bullish on new construction. The spring market is budding, and it should be an interesting one.”

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