I cannot believe it has been four years, but it is that time again when the Hamilton County Assessor of Property sends reassessment notices to property owners. Consumers who feel their property values are too high are encouraged to contact the Assessor of Property's Office at 423-209-7300. Staff there can answer questions about the reassessment and related appeals process. The Hamilton County Board of Equalization will meet in June to hear appeals.
When filing an appeal, a consumer will find it helpful to seek out the assistance of a Realtor. Part of the appeals process includes providing information to support the basis for the appeal. Such information could include comparable property values and recent sales of comparable properties, which can be obtained by seeking the services of a Realtor.
In addition to appraised property values, consumers often ask Realtors about the local market. In reviewing our most recent monthly market report for residential real estate, I am pleased to report that for the first time since 2006, the numbers are largely positive. This is positive news for the Greater Chattanooga area.
For the month of January, new listings in the Chattanooga region were down 3.6 percent to 960 active listings. Also during January, pending sales decreased by 16.3 percent to 374 pending sales. During this same time frame, available property inventory shrank 10.3 percent to 4,499 units, and prices rallied higher as the median sales price was up 4 percent to $130,000.
For sellers who are curious about how long to anticipate their property might be on the market, I am pleased to report that the average days on market was down by 14 percent, which brings our current average days on market to 117 days. This decrease is the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year declines regarding days on market.
In January we also saw the month's supply of inventory decrease by 22.3 percent to 8 months. This decrease indicates that the housing demand increased relative to supply.
When examining real estate market activity, it is important to watch the economy for two key indicators - job growth directly fuels home purchases, and the housing industry generates jobs. The economy has added nearly 6.1 million jobs over the past 35 months, which is a sluggish but encouraging trend. Also, interest rates are slowly moving higher in some regions, though the affordability picture remains extremely attractive to potential buyers.
In looking at residential real estate activity since this time last year, our year-to-date numbers show that closed sales are up 34 percent, homes listed for sale are down a little more than 10 percent, and the median sales price is up by 4 percent. What a difference a year makes!