Buyers get more bargaining power; sellers still have upper hand


GRAY, Tenn. – Buyers are regaining some bargaining power as the local housing market continues slowly readjusting. And although sellers are not reducing their original listing prices yet, many are coming off it to close a deal, according to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR).

Last month 289 contracts went to closing at a price below the asking price. It’s been that way for the last three months. Last month’s average discount was $16,887. That’s in line with the discounts in September ($17,193) and August ($16,575).

The median listing price last month was $290,932, up from $290,000 in September and $61,000 more than last year. Sellers have been increasing it every month this year.

NETAR President Rick Chantry says, “It’s still very much a sellers’ market in the NE Tenn. – SW Va. area and, given current conditions, will be that way for a while.”

National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently said he didn’t think prices would come down much and, in fact, could increase if mortgage rates stay at the 7% range.  The odds of that happening looks pretty good. Current conditions suggest mortgage rates may have topped out and October’s consumer price index showed inflation rising less than expectations inflation is easing.

That’s a pretty good local outlook.

Locally, prices have been flat since May, when they peaked at $250,000. Last month the median was $232,000.

What’s happening is some sellers are looking at the market and recognizing that the price growth rate has run out of steam. They see they’re not going to get as much as they could last year, but what they can get is still pretty good compared to what they paid.

There are still properties that get multiple offers, and some sales go for more than the asking price. Last month there were 159 sales that went for more than the asking price. How much over buyers paid ranged from $100,000 to $100. There was only one sale with $100,000 above asking. The average was $8,891.

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Categories: REAL ESTATE