Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, March 24, 2023

Affordability still holding housing market down

Let’s take a look at real estate in the Greater Chattanooga area in February and see how things stacked up.

Buyer demand was still down from its peak throughout the country. Home prices continued to slow nationwide, although prices remained up from a year ago. And sellers increasingly cut prices and offered sales incentives in an attempt to attract buyers, who have struggled with affordability challenges this winter.

The slight decline in mortgage rates earlier this year convinced some buyers to come off the sidelines. But with rates ticking up again in recent weeks, buyers are once again pulling back, causing sales activity to remain down heading into spring.

Also, in its continued effort to curb inflation, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter-percentage point to 4.75%, its eighth rate hike since March of last year when the interest rate was nearly zero.

Mortgage interest rates have dipped slightly from their peak last fall, leading pending sales to increase 8.1% month-to-month as of last measure, but affordability constraints continue to limit homebuyer activity overall, with existing-home sales declining for the twelfth consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors.

In our neck of the woods, new listings in the Chattanooga region decreased 12.9% to 936. Pending sales were down 6.3% to 918. Closed sales were down 9.6% to 787 compared to February 2022, when buyers purchased 871 properties.

Inventory levels grew 57.1% to 1,529 units. This is a remarkable increase over February 2022, when only 973 homes were available.

Prices continued to gain traction. The median sales price increased 3.3% to $297,500. In February 2022, the median sales price was $288,000.

Days on market was up 85.7% to 39 days. For comparison, the days on market in February 2022 was only 21 days.

Buyers felt empowered as months supply of inventory was up 77.8% to 1.6 months.

So, inventory is increasing and prices are stabilizing. These factors are just a few of the reasons why it’s critical to utilize the expertise of a Realtor. Our Code of Ethics binds us to ensuring we meet our clients’ needs responsibly.

Realtors work tirelessly for their clients and provide expert knowledge. That’s Who We R.

Founded in 1912, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is the voice for real estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,700 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors serves Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. The association is one of approximately 1,100 local associations and boards of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors owns and operates a Multiple Listing Service that is one of approximately 600 MLSs in the country and services more than 3,000 MLS users. Local association membership consists of Realtors servicing the Greater Chattanooga area and specializing in a variety of disciplines, including appraisal, commercial, industrial, land, multifamily, property management and residential. Affiliate members who represent related industries work alongside these Realtors, including mortgage lenders, home inspectors, title and closing services, pest inspection and control services and insurance providers.