With 2012 now fully in the books, it is clear that the housing bulls won the day. This achievement is due largely to a recovery year for housing, not restricted to our local market but also across the country.
The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors' market research shows that despite there being no shortage of downside risk, real estate markets resolved to shed some excess weight by the end of 2012.
This resolution appealed to both existing homeowners and renters alike, who were willing to enter the market, and we all learned to play nicer with the banking industry.
Three for three is not too shabby. But there is more work to be done.
Here is how the final month of 2012 finished up.
Closed property sales rose 2.1 percent compared to 2011 numbers and topped out at 496 residential units. New listings of homes for sale in the Chattanooga region were up 10.2 percent to 581 new listings on the market. As a result, housing inventory shrank 8 percent to 4,534 units.
By the end of the year, prices were rising, with the median sales price up 9.6 percent to $142,500. Also, the number of days on the market decreased by 2.9 percent to an average 132 days.
In December, our numbers reflected that the month's supply of inventory was down 21.4 percent to 8.1 months. This decrease in inventory indicates that local demand increased relative to local supply.
Meanwhile, third quarter Gross Domestic Product was upwardly revised to 3.1 percent and several prominent housing indices continue to showcase market turnaround.
For current and future homeowners, it seems clear that momentum is on your side. Remember, the turnaround in the market will not necessarily be a fast one, nor will it be consistent or universal, but the recovery appears to be here to stay.
After five or six challenging years in the real estate industry, this change of pace is a welcomed and long-awaited one. There are plenty of opportunities that lie ahead.
Here is to a healthy and prosperous year!
Mark Blazek is president of the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors