Home sales rise as average price drops

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Elizabethton homes sales were in the pre-recession market range again last year while the annual average sales price gave back 2013’s gain and then some.
According to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors’ Trends Report, there were 135 closings in Elizabethton last year. That’s 11 more than the 2013 total and 26 better than in 2008.
Last year’s annual sales price was $100,270, down $5,669 from 2013.
Annual closings on condominiums totaled nine. That’s five more than in 2013.
The average local condominium sales price of $99,058 was $19,782 less than it was the previous year.
Carter County closed the year with 344 home sales, 11 more than last year and 42 more than the pre-recession benchmark. The $112,686 average annual sales price was $3,703 lower than it was last year.
County condominium closings totaled 20, 10 more than in 2013. The average sales price of $89,439 was $29,401 less than it was in 2013.
Elizabethton Planning Director Jon Hartman expressed some concern over the lower home prices.
“While sales are up, my concern is that the average closing price is lower than the previous year and lower than the median value of owner occupied homes in Elizabethton, illustrating that home values may be dropping in Elizabethton,” he said.
But he added there could be a positive to the drop in numbers.
“The alternative of this indicator being better economic recovery in that low-income households feel secure enough financially to sell and purchase new homes,” he said.
NETAR counts Elizabethton home sales as those made in the Elizabethton High School Zone. Sales and price data from Elizabethton are included in the Carter County totals.
Last year’s dollar sales volume in Carter County was $38.76 million, up $4,296 from 2013.
NETAR President Sharon Duncan said signs point to a market headed in a positive direction this year.
“Lower gas prices are the equivalent of an across-the-board pay increase and there are signs the local job market is beginning to track with the national up trend,” Duncan said. “Combine those consumer confidence inspiring conditions with new down payment rules that are more accommodating to first-time buyers, an improving credit landscape and low mortgage rates and you have a market with invigorated potential. Builders are also ramping up so there will be more new homes on the market this year.”
A check of the regional Multiple Listing Service inventory during the second week of January showed Elizabethton listing were up unchanged from the same period last year. County listings were up 0.7 percent.
Typically the number of listing begins increasing in February and peaks in mid- to late summer.
The average single-family home sold in December was on the market for 165 days before it sold. The average for condominiums was 216 days.
Foreclosures accounted for 27.1 percent of all previously owned, single-family home sales in the county last year compared to 22.8 percent last in 2013.

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