NETAR: Shutdown is 'likely culprit' for slight home sales dip

Hank Hayes • Feb 16, 2019 at 4:00 PM

GRAY — Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) President Karen Randolph is blaming January’s slight decline in home sales on the partial federal government shutdown.

NETAR reported on Friday that local single-family home sales fell by one closing in January compared to the same month last year. Closings on condominium and townhome sales were also down by one.

It was the second straight month sales declined in the 11-county Northeast Tennessee-Southwest Virginia market that continues to see robust demand, according to NETAR.

“This decline is not significant but lets you know how closely we are monitoring the market,” NETAR’s January report said.

The average sales price of a single-family resale ($174,716) was a 2.6 percent improvement over January last year. The condominium/townhome average sales price of $127,701 was up 2.2 percent.

“The government shutdown is the likely culprit for the dip in January’s home sales report. The shutdown delayed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans,” Randolph pointed out.

The USDA is a primary lender in the 11-county region monitored by NETAR.

“Despite buyers motivated by decreasing mortgage rates, a prime indicator shows the local resale market is softening. The moving average sales trend has declined every month since August. Some of this decline can be attributed to a normal seasonal slowdown, but the decline rate is steeper than it was during the past two years,” Randolph added. “Sales are slowing from the record pace of the past two and a half years, but we are still growing.”

NETAR said that during the past 13 months, single-family resales have been up 10 months, and the average sales price increased during seven of those months.

New listings increased last month, but so did new contracts, resulting in little net inventory gain.

“We went into February with four and a half months of inventory, which was better than November and December, but the building up of new listings has not happened yet,” Randolph stressed.

Randolph said single-family closings were up in all but two of the region’s seven primary city markets and four of the area’s county markets. January’s average sales price was up in five city markets and four county markets.

According to NETAR’s report, there were 393 closings of single-family resales last month and 26 for condo and townhomes. During January last year, there were 394 single-family and 27 condo or townhome closings.

The average January single-family resale closing was on the market for 125 days. The average time on the market for a condo or townhome resale was 119 days.

City and county market share, December’s year-over-year closings and average sales prices can be found on the NETAR website’s market analytics page at https://netar.us/market-analytics.