TRI-CITIES, Tenn. – The Appalachian Highlands long-term housing tracker was up for the second straight 12-month period ending in mid-April. It’s signaling a slightly stronger peak spring season than pacing the pre-pandemic benchmark.
April’s tracker is up 0.9% from May. That’s a slow-growth trajectory of 63 more sales over a 12-month period. The April 2019 pre-pandemic growth rate was 0.4%. Last year, the growth rate was in its third decline – a trend that continued through February this year.
What and how much of it is on the market is a key factor in how the moderating market progresses. April’s inventory at mid-month was showing a small gain in the affordability range of $299,999 and below properties when compared to March’s report. Each of the market’s regions – with the exception of Kingsport – had gains for one or more price brands from the previous month.
The strongest gains are the move-up market. Those in the $400,000 to $499,999 accounted for the biggest increase.
The luxury market inventory was mixed. The $1 million and up listing groups had the largest increase, which was balanced by declines in the $600,000 – $699,999 and $900,000 – $999,999 price bands.
The $300,000 – $399,999 and $400,000 – $499,999 price bands were the sweet spots for market share and inventory across the region.
Greeneville has the best market share distribution in the region and the Johnson City Region continues to lead the region with 40.1% of all existing home sales and better than half of all sales in the $600,000 and above price ranges.
Sellers have made less profit in six of the past 10 months. The Feb.-March price was down 0.8% in the Appalachian Highlands Region, down 0.8% in the Knoxville market and down 1.4% in the Chattanooga market. So far this year, consumer spending and a strong job market have helped shored up the negative effect of higher mortgage rates and low inventory. However, the region’s increase in less affordability housing is exerting downward pressure on its relocation market status. The effect should be relatively minor because, even with higher local home prices, they are still substantially below the norm in most metro markets.
The region’s relocation performance is critical to balancing its death rate and the number of residents who move away. The region has been in a negative natural growth position for more than a decade. The Johnson City and Kingsport regions account for most of the population growth in the region.