More than a year after the housing downturn hit Middle Tennessee, home prices are holding steady and in some areas rising, leading some observers to predict a turnaround in the local market by the summer.
Home sales plummeted throughout 2007, with December sales posting the most severe year-over-year drop in nearly 17 years.
That did not translate into falling prices for homebuilders and sellers, according to data released by the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors. The median price for a single-family home sold in December was up nearly 2 percent over the same month in 2006, coming in at $187,900.
Median prices also were up in every county tracked by the association, except Sumner, where the median of $180,000 was unchanged compared with a year ago, the association said. The median price is the point at which half of the homes sold for less and half sold for more.
Prices rose because sellers were willing to wait longer to get their asking price and because buyers tended to choose larger, fancier homes over older construction, observers said.
Leading the pack was Williamson County, where the median price of a home sold in 2007 rose 7.4 percent to $379,369. Prices rose even though sales were down 20 percent, falling to 4,014 sales last year from 5,007 homes in 2006.
Sales down 15% in 2007
Home prices appeared to hold up even in December, even though 1,000 fewer homes were sold compared with the same month in 2006. That translated into a drop in sales of 32 percent for the month, the biggest same-month decline from one year to the next since January 1991, according to figures from the Realtors association.
For the year as a whole, sales were down about 15 percent from 2006, during which local real estate agents set a record for sales.
Still, some people said they saw signs that the market was improving.
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