Homes sales are up in Elizabethton, down across the region

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, February 25, 2015

BZ0225 January Home Sales

Bucking a regionwide trend, Elizabethton home sales were up last month compared to January 2014 and December.

According to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors, home sales across the 11-county Tri-Cities area were down, but Elizabethton homes sales increased. And the average sales price in Elizabethton was up 11 percent.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In Carter County, home sales were flat compared to last year and but increased from December’s numbers. However sales prices showed  a big improvement.

“I am glad to see that our numbers are up,” said Elizabethton Director of Planning and Development Jon Hartman. “The sales prices have increased by 11 percent and the number of closings are up. This could be a reflection that the housing market is making a comeback.”

In Elizabethton, there were 11 closings on single-family homes compared to nine in January 2014 and eight in December. The average sales price of $92,412 was up 11.9 percent from January a year ago, and 2.1 percent better than December. One condominium sale closed last month. There were no closings in December or January last year. Last month’s average sales price was $115,000.

In Carter County, there were 26 single-family closings, the same as January 2014 and six more than December. The annual sales price was $114,222, 16.5 percent better than the same month last year and 23.5 percent better than December. There were two condominium closings compared to one January last year and none in December. The average condo sales price was $83,050, down 29.7 percent from last year.

Hartman believes the increase in home sales could be an indicator people are becoming more comfortable with the housing market in Elizabethton.

“People may be more comfortable purchasing a new home, or listing their home for sale,” Hartman said. “The higher sales prices are a good indication that housing stock is being added and that options are available that were not present before the recession.

As a percentage of total single-family home sales, foreclosures were 9.1 percent in the city compared to 33.3 percent last year and 19.2 percent in the county, the same proportion as January last year. Total residential listings in the second week of January were 10.1 percent higher in the city and up 1.1 percent higher in the county when compared to the same period last year.

According to the report, there were 265 closings on previously owned, single-family home sales in the whole Tri-Cities in January compared to 310 in January 2014 and 372 in December. The $136,547 average sales price was 4.4 percent lower than it was January last year and 7.9 percent less than December. Condominiums followed the existing home sales market pattern.  There were 21 closings in January, two fewer than January last year and 13 fewer than December. The average sales price of $101,843 was 13.8 percent less than January last year and 17.7 percent less than December.

NETAR President Sharon Duncan expects to see home sales improve across the region as spring nears.

“We expect to see market activity pick up from this slow seasonal start as we move into the spring selling season,” Duncan said.

Lower down payment rules, better credit availability and increasing rents should encourage more first-time buyers to take advantage of affordable home ownership conditions in local markets this year, Duncan said. She also expects consumer confidence to be stronger than it was at the beginning of 2014.

The report showed performance in surrounding counties was mixed. Compared to January 2014, sales were up in four counties, flat in thee and down in four. The average price was up in eight counties and down in three. In the city markets, sales increased in four, were flat in one and declined in two. The average price was up five and down in two.

The number of homes listed with the regional Multiple Listing Service across the Tri-Cities during the second week of January was 1.4 percent lower than it was during the same period last year. Duncan said listings traditionally increase as the spring selling season nears.

“Even though January’s total is below what it was the same month last year there were 134 more listings last month than during December,” she said.

Foreclosures accounted for 18.1 percent of all previously owned, single-family home sales in January, up one percent from last year. The average days on market for a single-family home sold in January was 184 compared to 169 last year. For a condo it was 171 compared to 127 during the same month last year.