As we have mentioned in previous articles, this year has remained steadily busy and we are seeing higher home sales prices than have been evident in quite some time. We see the Gatlinburg and Sevier County markets moving steadily and economists are pointing to improvement in the national real estate market as well. We would like to apologize for not providing the monthly market statistics for March. Our local MLS system is experiencing technical difficulties and is not reporting accurate numbers. We hope this issue can be remedied soon. In the meantime we would like to share a little bit about what is going on overall in the real estate market.
In a recent article, Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, said the recovery is in the process of settling into a higher level of home sales. Existing home sales were slightly down in March but are still 5.2% above the same period in 2011. The National Association of REALTORS reports that inventory has tightened and home prices continue to show signs of stabilizing. Mr. Yun stated, “The recovery is happening though not at a breakout pace, but we have seen nine consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases. He went on to say, “Existing home sales are moving up and down in a fairly narrow range that is well above the level of activity during the first half of last year. With job growth, low interest rates, bargain home prices and an improving economy, the pent-up demand is coming to market and we expect housing to be notably better this year.”
Nationally, the median existing home price for all housing types was just under $164,000 in March. Short sales and foreclosures made up 29% of March sales compared with 40% in March of 2011. In the South, existing home sales are reported at 3.6 percent higher than one year ago.
Freddie Mac reports that the national average commitment rate for a 30 year, conventional, fixed rate mortgage was 3.95 percent in March, down from 4.84 percent in March of 2011. This makes financing very attractive for homebuyers and is opening up options for many.
All of this points to a steady move towards a positive outcome for the 2012 real estate market. Locally we are seeing a shift in buying patterns with more buyers present in the market and able to procure financing. Now is the time to enter the market, take advantage of extremely low mortgage rates and great housing deals available in inventory. With many financing options it may be a prime time to speak with a lender, see what is available and get pre-approved. Having a pre-approval in hand will put you in a great position when you find your “Smoky Mountain Dream”. There is a lot to choose from, start at our website and view all that the Great Smoky Mountains have to offer.
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