I was interviewed yesterday about the state of the greater Knoxville, Tennessee real estate market by Hana Kim, one of my favorite local reporters.
Below is a graph I made comparing this January just past to previous Januarys.
And here's the story:
By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The housing market in East Tennessee hasn't been hit as hard as some of the other cities these past few years.
In fact, new numbers indicate a recent uptick.
A total of 588 home were sold in the greater Knoxville area in January. That's 90 more homes sold compared to the same month last year.
"I hear a lot of people saying that their activities have increased and that they are showing a lot of people houses. I've started off to a good year so far," said realtor Jim Lee of Realty Executives Associates.
For realtors like Lee, every sale counts, especially in these economic hard times.
"What really is the problem is the high unemployment rate. Even if you could get a house for $50,000, if you don't have a job you're not going to qualify for a loan, so your probably not going to buy a house," said Lee.
That's why he is grateful for the government's extension of the first time home buyers tax credit.
"I believe it's probably driving at least 30 to 40 percent of our market," said Lee.
Lee says most potential buyers are interested in properties that are $150,000 or less. Most are interested in single family homes, rather than condos or townhouses.
The tax credit is set to end April 30, leaving many to speculate about how that will affect overall sales for the year.
"It's going to be interesting to see what happens," said Lee.
If Lee could make a bet, he says, the market will be volatile.
"I think we are going to see a modest increase this year and interest rates remain historically low,"said Lee.
In the greater Knoxville area, more than 3,600 homes are up for sale and a little more than 1,000 condos are listed.
That level of inventory is normal for this area.