Home sales topped 222 in February, an increase from 183 in January and 152 in February last year, according to The Red Report’s February 2012 Home Sales Report.
Last month’s sales were 46 percent higher than the same time last year, said Red Realty President Steven Dotson.
“As you can see, the closing volume is way up, but prices are not rising yet,” Dotson said, noting that the average closed price increased only 2 percent.
The average price of a home sold in Rutherford County last month was $157,981, compared to $155,863 in February 2011.
“I think prices will follow the volume, but they haven’t yet,” he said. “If you are a buyer, you better be buying because the days of the super discounted deal will be over in the near future.”
Pending home sales in Rutherford County surged 23 percent from January to February – a positive indicator for the spring selling season.
“Overall, I think this is one of the best reports I’ve (issued) in a long time,” he said. “The prices are the only negative area I see, and I think they will trend upwards as we continue to see volume increasing.”
While some of the increases are seasonal, Dotson said, the year-over-year comparison shows big improvements.
These figures demonstrate a continuing improvement from 2011’s third quarter, according to data published in the Tennessee Housing Market Brief, which is released by MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center.
Home prices continued to drop in Tennessee during the third quarter 2011, the latest data available. Prices fell 3 percent over the year for Tennessee, about the same rate of decline as the previous quarter, according to the All Transactions index prepared by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Tennessee’s housing market experienced one of the better quarters of the past three years, and sales increased in the Nashville area, stated David Penn, director of the Business and Economic Research Center, in the report.
Important weaknesses still exist, most notably falling housing prices, the report continues. Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures are improving by still very high.
Collections for mortgage taxes and real estate transactions taxes both increased during the fourth quarter, indicating a higher level of real estate activity. Mortgage tax collections rose for the fourth consecutive quarter, up 1 percent from the third quarter and 11.4 percent over the year.
According to the Housing Finance Agency, refinancing represents the largest portion of mortgage activity, generating 80 percent of the U.S. activity during the third quarter of 2011.
Real estate transactions tax collections gained 3.7 percent from the third quarter and 8.8 over the year.
These rising collections suggest an increase in the number of real estate deals during the quarter.
“We should expect additional improvements for the housing market as long as labor market conditions continue to improve,” Penn concluded in the report. “Rising employment in construction and manufacturing are very encouraging, as is the sharp fall in the employment rate.”