Northeast Tennessee home sales in 2018 best in 10 years

Zach Vance • Jan 16, 2019 at 10:00 PM

The Northeast Tennessee housing market in 2018 reached sales not seen since pre-Great Recession, according to a report released Wednesday by the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR). 

The report determined the local housing market finished 2018 with the best sales year since 2008 and the best annual average price increase in four years. 

In 2018, the number of closings on single-family homes for the 11-county area monitored by NETAR totaled 6,592 in 2018, a 5.7 percent increase when compared to 2017. 

The annual average sales price for Northeast Tennessee homes in 2018 reached $173,379, a 4.2 percent bump from 2017 and $19,952 more than the 2008 annual average, the year before the Great Recession hit the local market.

“This is a remarkable year-end report for the 11-county area monitored by the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors’ Trends Report,” NETAR President Karen Randolph said. 

The total sales volume for residential resales exceeded a billion dollars for a third straight year, hitting a record high of $1.42 billion, a 28 percent increase compared to 2017. 

“While reports of a slowing economy dominate housing market headlines, seasonal decline, and a softening sales growth rate, our market powered through a tight inventory for its best year in a decade,” the NETAR report stated. 

“Despite two-and-a-half years of record sales and price increases, an average wage earner in our two largest markets – Sullivan and Washington counties – continues to have the buying power to purchase a median-price home.” 

For the month of December, closings were 11.7 percent lower than 2017, with the average sales price also down 1.1 percent compared to December 2017. 

In Johnson City, year-to-date closings for 2018 totaled 852, or 49 more than 2017. The average sales price of a Johnson City home equaled $230,502 to end the year, representing a $7,815 year-over-year increase. 

The 11-county market still concluded 2018 with a tight inventory of 3.9 months, which means if sales remain steady, it will take 3.9 months to sell all the homes on the market. Six months of inventory is typically considered a national normal, while 10 to 11 months of inventory has been deemed the normal for the region.  

“We are anticipating some inventory relief in the New Year, but everything points to a condition only slightly better than they are now,” Randolph said.

Inventory, mortgage rates, job creation, and wage growth will all be key factors during the coming year, she added.

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