Area home prices see rise

Area home prices see rise

November 10th, 2011 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

The number of homes sold by Chattanooga Realtors rose 17 percent last year to the highest level since 2007.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

Buoyed by a 15 percent jump in third quarter home sales this year, the median price of existing homes sold this summer rose more in Chattanooga than any Mid-South market, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors.

The typical existing single-family home in metropolitan Chattanooga sold in the third quarter for $128,700, or $13,200 more than in the spring quarter and $11,400 more than in the same period a year ago.

"Summertime is usually our best selling season, but I think we're not going to see further price declines in housing here like what is happening in other markets," said Jennifer Grayson, president of the Chattanooga Association of Realtors. "We're still going to have more foreclosures, but we're working through those and I'm hopeful our market is going to steadily get better."

Nationwide, the median price of homes sold this summer fell by 4.7 percent. Among the 158 metro markets tracked by the National Association of Realtors, only 10 had bigger price gains than Chattanooga.

The median price of a typical home in Chattanooga was still 24.1 percent below the U.S. average this summer, according to Realtor sales figures.

"We didn't have the big burst and run up in prices before the recession and we're not seeing the bust and drop in prices here that are happening in many other markets," said Dan Griess, president of the Multiple Listing Service in Chattanooga. "Consumer confidence seems to be a little bit stronger, but it's still a tough market."

In a separate report released Wednesday, the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors said area Realtors sold 1,623 residential units during July, August and September this year, up 15 percent from the same quarter in 2010. Among the third quarter sales in Chattanooga, the Realtors reported that 30.7 percent were of foreclosed properties.

The improving sales this summer appears to have spurred more home owners to put their houses on the market. Despite improving sales, the average time required to sell the typical home in Chattanooga is now 139 days, up from 113 days a year ago.