Thursday, September 24, 2009

August Home Sales in Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia

The Chattanooga real estate market witnessed a month of underperformance according to data released by the Multiple Listing Service of the Chattanooga Association of Realtors.  In August, Southeast Tennessee and the Northwest Georgia area saw the sale of 528 residential homes, an 8.2% decrease compared to the previous month's sales, in a retrenchment from July of this year.   This follows three consecutive months - May, June and July - of steady gains in the market.

Leading experts within the Chattanooga Association of REALTORS have cautioned against drawing inaccurate conclusions regarding the comparison of any given month’s statistical results with historical results from any period in the past. Care has been urged not to expect a quick return to any “boom” era of the past, whether it is 2 years – or 10 years ago.

By way of example, the last peak market was in 1977, and it took fifteen years after to achieve significant increases over that record year. It is thought that the best approach is to actually define those record sales years – applaud them for what they produced – but also recognized what the“normal”expectation should and could be.

Affordability is a key indicator – and often the decisive factor - in both the pace and depth of the market dynamics shaping home sales. In the Greater Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia area, this can be seen in the local median home price, which is the price that half of all units sell for more and half sell for less. For the month of August, the local median home price was $129,950.

That represents a decrease of 5.1% from the same period one year earlier and a .8% decrease from the median price reported last month. While it represents a continuing trend of real affordability, the adjusted median price also speaks well for the area’s ability to attract new residents and as one of the U.S.’s most attractive places to live and work.

In terms of the number of average days on the market, August 2009 saw an increase over figures from 2008, while remaining fairly constant from the previous month of July 2009. Many experts attribute this consistency to a slow and gradual easing of pressures in the financial markets. Though credit often remains tight for even the most qualified of buyers, it is believed that lender confidence will increase, allowing for greater access to credit. Authorities see the number of days on market now returning to their previous averages and predict more consistency over the next few quarters.