According to the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors, the start of the year ushered in a wave of good news about a hot stock market, higher wages and an active home sales environment. At the same time, housing prices have continued to rise, and the low inventory situation and affordability crunch has been particularly hard on first-time buyers struggling to get into the market. Nevertheless, buyer activity is easily outpacing seller activity in much of the country, culminating in relatively quick sales and low supply. Demand definitely remained strong this month.
New Listings in the Chattanooga region decreased 15.1 percent to 968.
Pending Sales were up 2.4 percent to 847. Inventory levels shrank 23.4 percent to 2,967 units.
Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 6.7 percent to $163,000. Days on Market was down 3.9 percent to 74 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 29.4 percent to 3.6 months.
Unemployment has reached pre-recession levels, and Americans remain optimistic about finding quality employment. This matters because job growth and higher paychecks fuel home purchases. Unfortunately, that won't matter for potential buyers if price appreciation outpaces income growth and if mortgage rates continue their upward trend. Sellers are getting a generous number of offers in this market. The worry for sellers then becomes that there will not be a generous number of homes to choose from when they become buyers.