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What Homes Cost: Sales in 2011 to be steady, slightly up
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Sunday, March 27, 2011    |   

SUBURBAN STATISTICS

HIXSON/CHATTANOOGA CITY LIMITS

* Homes sold: 246

* Total sales: $36,806,454

* Average sale price: $149,619

* Median sale price: $135,500

NORTH HAMILTON COUNTY/SODDY-DAISY/BAKEWELL/SALE CREEK/MIDDLE VALLEY

* Homes sold: 543

* Total sales: $95,323,272

* Average sale price: $175,549

* Median sale price: $147,000

EAST BRAINERD/OOLTEWAH

* Homes sold: 292

* Total sales: $67,427,552

* Average sale price: $230,916

* Median sale price: $210,000

Source: Multiple Listing Service, 2010

Coming off a roller-coaster year in which home sales rose and fell with the political, financial and meteorological tides, Realtors are preparing for slow, steady growth in 2011.

“I don’t think it’s going to be any worse, though I think it may be a tad better,” said Jennifer Grayson, president of the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors.

Though the phones are ringing a little more and potential buyers are lining up to look at homes, that activity hasn’t necessarily translated into a sharp uptick in sales, yet.

The problem is that despite buyers’ enthusiasm for moving to a new home, the glut of foreclosures on the market makes it difficult to sell their existing home.

“A lot of people can’t move in until they sell their old home,” Grayson said.

Though banks are “working faster than ever” to rid their balance sheets of bank-owned properties, high unemployment continues to force properties onto the market.

Jay Bell, head of Bell Development, has concentrated his resources in Hixson and Ooltewah, where he sees the potential for an upturn.

“I think everybody believes that last year was the bottom, and we’re expecting a gain in sales,” Bell said. “We’re also seeing all the growth coming in from Wacker, VW and Amazon, so that’s where my optimism comes from.”

Chattanooga MLS President Dan Griess said the market is “bobbling along the bottom of the trough,” but things are “on the way up.”

“The market has corrected itself, and the market is healing itself,” Griess said.

Most home building will continue to consist of custom homes rather than speculative building, he said.

“I’m here for a reason,” he said. “I’m really bullish on the future of real estate in general in Chattanooga.”

And according to most predictions, the future is going to consist of slow but solid growth, with consistent increases in demand as a growing list of employers lines up to be a part of Chattanooga’s future.