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Area home sales up
by Tyler Jett
Wednesday, March 26, 2014    |   
Alejandro Chavez measures and cuts lumber at a construction site in Hixson.
Alejandro Chavez measures and cuts lumber at a construction site in Hixson.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

As the region’s economy improves, so does this area’s housing market.

Coming off a year of growth in 2012, home prices increased a little more last year. And families looking to sell their homes found the task to be a little easier.

From 2012 to 2013, house listings increased 5 percent. The median sales price, meanwhile, also got a nudge in the right direction. Sellers unloaded their houses for a median of about $139,000 — a 2 percent increase from 2012.

Though the increases aren’t eye-popping, they are good, especially considering the previous years of recession that affected Chattanooga and almost every other city in America.

“2014 will be even better” than 2013, said Vicki Trapp, president of the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors.

Indeed, early statistics indicate that the local housing market will continue to improve. In January of this year, homes were selling at a rate 6 percent faster than they were in the first month of 2013.

The greatest growth from 2012 to 2013 happened in the Collegedale-Apison area, which saw 152 home sales in 2013, up 56.7 percent from the previous year. And the houses were more expensive. The median price was $229,500 — about $10,000 more than the selling price for homes in 2012.

Trapp credited the nearby Volkswagen and Amazon plants for the housing growth in that area.

Also, the region of downtown Chattanooga, St. Elmo, Highland Park, Avondale and Missionary Ridge also saw a housing boost. A total of 387 homes were sold in those neighborhoods in 2013, a 15.2 percent increase compared to the prior year.

And the price of those purchases also saw a major boost. In 2012, the median home in those spots sold for $75,000. In 2013, the median homes went for $115,000.

“There’s a whole rebirth of the South Side going on,” Trapp said. “Plus, you’ve got all the condos being built. Plus, you have the revitalization in the Highland Park and St. Elmo areas.”

Overall, Trapp said, the housing market should continue to rise. Mortgage interest rates are still relatively low. And, more importantly, people want to live here.

“We have a great city,” she said. “People like our city. People are moving back into our city.”

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com.