The number of distressed properties is still high and many homeowners are either underwater on their mortgage or on the verge of foreclosure.
“We’ve seen a market recession more than anything else,” explained John Tuccillo, former National Association of Realtors chief economist.
The market has been affected in three ways, he said, a drop in home values, a 10-20 percent national drop in home sales from historical levels and an increase in distressed properties
“It’s a market that had gone into a tailspin,” he said.
Tuccillo will address these topics and how Realtors can stay ahead of market trends in these turbulent times at a Power Luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, April 8 at the Doubletree Hotel in Murfreesboro.
The Power Luncheon kicks off the SmartMove Homes Weekend event led by the Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors, featuring consumer-education seminars on many aspects of how to buy a home, a trade show and open houses.
SmartMove is a campaign by the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, Destination Rutherford, MTAR and other community partners to kick start the lagging housing sector weakened by the economic recession.
SmartMove is designed to get the housing market in Rutherford County moving again.
Tuccillo said the national market is starting to pick up speed, but at a slow rate.
“Generally the housing market will be expanding this year but more slowly,” he said.
Distressed properties, like foreclosures and short sales, aren’t helping and, with high unemployment and another round of adjustable rate mortgages ready to reset at higher rates, are a problem that may stick around for a while.
“Foreclosures, short sales and distressed properties are going to be facts of life for the next few years,” he said.
Nationally, distressed properties are around five times the historical average, at about 2.5 percent of the housing stock.
Locally, no one keeps up with the exact figure, said Dave Patton, managing broker for
Prudential Rowland Real Estate and 2010 president of MTAR.
“I would tend to think that we are probably not too far off of the national statistics in this area,” he said.
Rutherford County’s absorption rate isn’t too far off the national average either, hanging around nine months of inventory on the market compared to around eight months nationally.
“This is most definitely skewed to the high side by the number of foreclosure and short-sale properties on the market because of the extended time that they are listed for sale as well as the time they take to actually close,” Patton said.
Realtors like to see six months of inventory for a balanced market and with inventory averaging on the high side, it’s a good time to shop for a new home, Patton said.
“Interestingly enough, throughout the past four months, the average time it has taken from list date to close date has remained between 85 and 90 days on the market,” he said.
Even thought the market is slow, Tuccillo still sees seeds of hope with a national growth rate between 2 percent to 3 percent.
“But the real estate sector and its distressed properties needs to be cleaned up,” he said, before it will pick up significant pace.
Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or firstname.lastname@example.org.