Area Home Sales Up 7.6% Over July, But Down 9.1% From Same Month Last Year
In August of this year, Southeast Tennessee and the Northwest Georgia area saw the sale of 480 residential units, a 7.6% increase compared to the previous month’s sales, but a drop of 9.1% of sales figures reported a year ago.
Price stability does not appear to be a concern in the Chattanooga market, however. Mr. Durham said that for the month of August, the local median home price was $133,250. That represents an increase of 2.6% from the same period one year earlier and 2.5% from the median price reported the previous month.
The average number of days on the market remains the same from July, 2010 at 115.
“I’ve recently read that some of the nation’s top economic thinkers have used the term ‘an epidemic of thrift’”, said local Realtors Association President Randy Durham. “Home construction and property sales have led the U.S. out of seven recessions since 1960, but I fear that this time around, housing isn’t helping. Some of the more outspoken analysts at Moody’s Analytics fear housing may drive us back into recession, because of the high level of caution by consumers and businesses alike about spending.
“Another expert tells us that the recovery we are waiting for could be as much as six to 12 months away.”
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors said,” These last few months saw a ‘pause’ in housing market activity following the rush of buyers to qualify for the tax credit. That pause was anticipated – and is still occurring. Contract signings on existing homes fell (nationally) 3% in June; that on top of the 30% tumble in May. July data is still being collected; unfortunately the raw data coming are not encouraging and could be similarly low.”
“The pause, we hope, will not extend into the autumn months. If it does, home prices could indeed take another tumble down after essentially stabilizing over the past 18 months.”
Others are certainly taking note. Former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan recently said that the broader economy will surely go into another recession if home values were to fall. Current Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has spoken in terms of ‘unusually uncertain’ economic outlook.
Whatever current or former Fed chairmen say, most observers and analysts of the housing market say the same thing: it depends on jobs. The housing market will surely regain traction sooner and be on firmer footing once the economy adds jobs at a good pace, CAR officials said.
“It’s very disturbing that recent economic numbers within the U.S., as a whole, are far from satisfactory,” said Chattanooga Area MLS President Bobby Teems. “Nationally, the market has closely mirrored the Greater Chattanooga Area, in that both existing and new home sales have been down for the last two months, even falling below the market consensus. With both retail and core durable goods orders falling as well, lending and consumption remain well below the mark, despite the Fed’s low interest rates.
“Employment-wise, we remain slightly better off than the rest of the country, at an 8.7% unemployment rate, but the jobless level of over 22,500 folks out of work is just not sustainable.”
Dr. Scott Brown of Raymond James has said that the most recent data continue to suggest positive economic growth, but at a more modest pace in the near term than seen earlier. He agrees with most assessments that a double dip recession is still not the most likely scenario, but downside risks to the growth outlook have increased.
But perhaps the most sobering assessment about the economic outlook for the U.S. comes from Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, a leading advocate of spending restraint in Congress.
He said, “There is absolutely no construct for fiscal discipline at the federal level. If we do not change the path we are on and dramatically reduce our level of spending in relation to our country’s gross domestic product, I believe we are in danger of becoming the first generation of Americans to leave our country in worse shape than we found it. We need to change the conversation, and I think that means focusing on the big picture first. The gnashing of teeth about tax policy and spending cuts will come, but that’s page three, four and five. Page one is agreeing on the amount of spending we can sustain as a country.”
Sales By Area
Criteria: Status: S, Category: Residential
Statistics for Entire Mls from 8/1/2010 to 8/31/2010
Area # of Sales Total Sales Avg Sales Median Sales
01 Tiftonia – Lookout Valley – Elder Mountain 4 $629,710 $157,427 $136,405
02 Downtown-St.Elmo-High Park-Avondale-Miss Ridge 28 $2,904,656 $103,737 $60,050
03 City of East Ridge 12 $722,500 $60,208 $56,000
04 Brainerd-East Brainerd 34 $5,125,610 $150,753 $128,950
05 Hwy 58 – city – Eastdale/Dalewood/Tyner 7 $538,710 $76,958 $54,600
06 N. Chatt-Mtn. Creek-Riverview-Rivermont 28 $5,669,706 $202,489 $171,150
07 Red Bank City Limits 12 $1,079,340 $89,945 $96,700
08 Hixson-Chattanooga City Limits 24 $3,198,650 $133,277 $138,750
09 Signal Mtn-Walden-Suck Creek 16 $5,129,500 $320,593 $253,500
10 Lookout Mountain 5 $1,565,000 $313,000 $250,000
12 Hwy 58/Harrison/Georgetown 17 $2,933,900 $172,582 $150,000
13 N Ham Co/Soddy/Bakewell/Sale Cr/Middle Valley 42 $7,157,491 $170,416 $144,250
15 Volunteer Site to Hunter Road 8 $1,202,550 $150,318 $151,000
16 E Brainerd (county)/Ooltewah 30 $7,776,184 $259,206 $241,700
17 Ooltewah/Snow Hill 12 $3,190,993 $265,916 $254,896
18 Collegedale (Includes Apison) 13 $4,232,950 $325,611 $292,000
TOTALS 292 $53,057,450 $181,703 $149,900