* SPECIAL * Senate agrees to extend homebuyer tax credit!

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 7:11 am, October 29th, 2009  

* NOTE * As of November 1 Congress has not yet officially extended this tax credit; it is still set to expire at the end of this month (November). However confidence is high that it will be extended in some form and probably expanded.

Senate Dems on Board with Credit Extension
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) says Senate Democrats have agreed to extend the first-time home buyer tax credit. The latest version extends the program to home sales signed — not closed — by April 30. Purchasers would have another 60 days to close the sale. The credit will also be expanded to include so-called step-up buyers who have lived in their current home for at least five years.

The credit would be cut nearly 10 percent to a $7,290 cap. Income eligibility for first-time home buyers would stay the same, but it would rise for step-up buyers to $125,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.

Source: Bloomberg News, Dawn Kopecki and Ryan Donmoyer (10/27/2009)”

KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com is the ‘go to’ place to see all Knoxville, TN area listings for sale.

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Knox County Register of Deeds real estate transactions for the week of October 25th

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 9:18 am, October 26th, 2009  
560 Allen Drive RockwoodTN 37854
Image by volunteerjim via Flickr

Last week’s results from the Knox County Register of Deeds is now available. It appears the past weeks transactions were a bit below our typical weekly average this year of around 150 closed transactions.

Weekly real estate transactions report from the Knox County Register of Deeds

Weekly real estate transactions report from the Knox County Register of Deeds

As we’ve seen in previous reports, the median price for a typical 3 bedroom house was $139,900 for the 3rd quarter of 2009. That price point, $100,000 to $150,000 was overwhelmingly the top selling price last week as it has been for most of the year.

Below is www.Trulia.com’s market view of  Knoxville, TN

knoxville tn real estate market view of real estate sales

In September we did see total monthly sales showing a 7% increase (about 60 more homes sold) over the same time period in September of 2008. But taken in context of the past 5 years, that increase really tells us nothing and is far too little data to base any trend on.

Here’s popular website Trulia’s summary of the Knoxville TN area real estate market.

“Average price per square foot for Knoxville TN was $99, a decrease of 10% compared to the same period last year. The median sales price for homes in Knoxville TN for Jul 09 to Sep 09 was $136,200 based on 1,598 home sales. Compared to the same period one year ago, the median home sales price decreased 4.1%, or $5,800, and the number of home sales decreased 27.7%.

There are currently 4,319 resale and new homes in Knoxville on Trulia, including 68 open houses, as well as 491 homes in the pre-foreclosure, auction, or bank-owned stages of the foreclosure process. The average listing price for homes for sale in Knoxville TN was $264,464 for the week ending Oct 21, which represents an increase of 0.7%, or $1,731, compared to the prior week. Popular neighborhoods in Knoxville include South Knoxville and Old North Knoxville, with average listing prices of $102,166 and $163,217.”

Please feel free to comment below, email me, or call with any questions about the Knoxville area real estate market.

www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com is your ‘go to’ website for Knoxville, Tennessee real estate listings and current area real estate information.

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Which way is the Knoxville TN area housing market headed?

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 8:40 am, October 22nd, 2009  

I was interviewed by WATE recently about the present and future state of the Knoxville area housing market.

Here’s a link to that interview and video below.

So far this year Knoxville area sales are oddly resisting their typical seasonal downturn as we approach the colder months and the holiday season.

Usually we see a downturn in sales around July-August when school starts but so far this year that is not happening. I believe a significant portion of those sales are being driven by buyers trying to beat the deadline for the $8,000 tax credit for homebuyers which is set to expire at the end of November this year.

There are several bills in Congress to extend it but whether they will pass or not is is anybody’s guess. Here’s what past years sales have historically looked like compared to this year so far.

Knoxville, TN year to date home sales

Knoxville, TN year to date home sales

As the red line which represents 2009 sales shows, sales are holding up at least 1 month past the points in the past where they have traditionally started dipping down.

The graph below shows the median price for a typical 3 bedroom home in the greater Knoxville area. The median price means “middle” and 50% of sales were above this price and 50% were below.

Knoxville area 3rd quarter median price comparisons

Knoxville area 3rd quarter median price comparisons

As the chart above shows, we’re selling more lower priced homes this year compared to years past. Hopefully Congress will see the wisdom of continuing the homebuyers tax credit and we can continue to see increases in the numbers of home sales in the Knoxville area.

Now is a great time to buy a house if you’ve been thinking of becoming a homeowner. You may not have enough time to qualify for the tax credit but there is a huge selection of homes for sale in the Knoxville area in all price ranges, interest rates are at historic lows which translates to payments maybe less than you’re paying right now in rent, and motivated sellers are willing to deal to entice you to buy their house over another.

www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com is a great place to start your search.

For Knoxville home sellers that need to sell; don’t dispair or give up. Knoxville area homes are still selling but you need to keep these three critical things in mind to make your home sell.

  1. Aggressive pricing. Realize you’re probably not going to net as much for your house now and you could have a year or so ago. Be prepared and willing to offer potential buyers a price concession and/or help with their closing costs. Most lenders will let a seller ‘contribute’ as much a 3% of the purchase price to help your buyer.
  2. Showroom condition. Start from the front door and pretend you’re the homebuyer for your house. Would you pay top dollar for it in the present condition? If the answer is no you need to make some changes. Start with a thorough cleaning of things you might not clean on a weekly basis such as ceiling fan blades, ceiling corners, garage, and other areas. Paint any needed area with a neutral paint color
  3. Broad based marketing. Over 80% of today’s buyers are looking on the Internet for houses these days. You have to have your house exposed to as many potential buyers as possible and once they find it you need lots of photos to encourage them to visit in person to look and buy. Your selection of an Internet savvy Realtor is more critical now than ever before (maybe a Realtor local news outlets talk to about Knoxville’s housing market) 😉

Please feel free to comment or ask any housing or mortgage questions you may have.

Knoxville, Tennessee real estate

Knoxville, Tennessee real estate

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“Lightning round” of tips for Knoxville area home sellers

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 8:25 am, October 19th, 2009  

All of us have probably at one time or another watched one of those TV game shows that feature a “Lightning Round” of fast paced questions.

I applied that to selling your Knoxville area house with a 90 second “Lightning Round” of how to get ready to sell so it will sell more quickly and likely bring you more money.

Here’s the first one:

The Louisville, Kentucky Association of Realtors has a great video with some more selling tips.

And WKMB in Kansas City has 9 great tips to make your home sell.

It’s a tough real estate market out there today folks; LOTS of homes for sale, financing is tougher to get, and buyers are fewer so any things you can do to make your home more appealing and stand above the crowd will get you that much closer to a sale and the closing table.

www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com also has great selling tips including a list of 40 free or inexpensive things you can do to make your Knoxville area home show better, sell faster, and net you more money.

Send me a blank email to [email protected] and get a free copy of “450 Ways To Help Your Home Sell Faster” , a 52 page eBook full of great tips and suggestions as well as some real life scenarios from selling homes.

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Knox County TN Register of Deeds real estate transfers week of Oct. 18th

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 9:23 am, October 18th, 2009  

This past week had an average for the year number of real estate transfers with 157 recorded.

Knoxville & Farragut TN Real Estate Transfers recorded last week

Knoxville & Farragut TN Real Estate Transfers recorded last week

No sales recorded for properties priced over a million dollars, 3 between $500,000 and a million, and the highest number was the price point between $100,000 to $150,000. No surprises there since the Knoxville area median price for a 3 bedroom home is currently $139,900.

As I recently reported, sales in the Knoxville area seem to be holding up past the traditional seasonal slowdown times. Typically we see sales numbers start to trend downward after July-August and continue downward until the first part of the follow year when they historically have started a climb back to late spring and summer peak sales times. Looks like from the sales figures this year may be a little different.

Knoxville area year to date sales

Knoxville area year to date sales

You will notice on the graph above, sales have been hovering just around a thousand sales a month since June. Normally by this time August and September numbers would be much lower.

I’m guessing that the $8,000 tax credit is driving a very significant portion of those later year sales. Whatever the reason it’s good news for home sellers and buyers as well as Knoxville’s real estate community.

There’s currently lots of talk about extending that tax credit until next year. Your guess is as good as mine as to what’s going to happen there. Congress did vote to extend it until November 2010 for military personnel that have served at least 90 days outside the Continental US at any time during 2009.

Find information on all the listings still for sale in the greater Knoxville area at the usual spot: www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com Please call or comment with any questions or concerns.

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Knoxville, TN 3rd quarter real estate sales results

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 10:09 am, October 17th, 2009  
Knoxville, Tennessee
Image via Wikipedia

The sales figures for the 3rd quarter (July, August, & September) from the Knoxville Association of Realtors is now available online. Let’s take a look at the 3rd quarter of 2009 compared to ones past.

Knoxville's 3rd quarter sales of houses and condos compared to past year's.

Knoxville's 3rd quarter sales of houses and condos compared to past year's.

As you can see, this year’s 3rd quarter numbers are over 40% lower than a comparable time period in 2005.

Even thought the sales volume for the year is holding up surprisingly well so far the total volume for this year compared to past years is way down. Real estate sales are traditionally very seasonal with a buildup beginning at the first of each year, typically peaking in June, July, or August, and then staring another down trend until the first of the following year. So far that has not happened.

Below is a graph showing the monthly sales to date for this year.

knoxville tennessee real estate 2009 month by month sales volume

Knoxville Tennessee real estate 2009 month by month sales volume

And here’s another view showing how this year compares to past year’s season rise and fall.

2009 Knoxville real estate sales compared to past years

2009 Knoxville real estate sales compared to past years

We’ve talked a lot about sales numbers but how are prices holding up in this depressed market? Fairly well actually. We haven’t seen any really depressed prices compared to some of the harder hit markets like south Florida, California, Michigan, and others. I believe home values have fallen some in the great Knoxville area but not dramatically.

In the Knoxville, Tennessee real estate market a typical sale is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath homes with a two car garage and somewhere between 1500 to 2200 square feet. Here’s how the median prices of those types of homes have fared over the past 10 years.

Median price of 3 bedroom Knoxville TN homes

Median price of 3 bedroom Knoxville TN homes

The median price is simply the price at which half of the homes sold are more expensive and the other half are less expensive, fewer sales of cheaper homes moves the median higher, all else being equal. Since our median price is down to $139,900 in the 3rd quarter of 2009 versus a high of $154,500 in the third quarter of 2007 that means we’re selling more less expensive houses than higher priced ones.

Those statistics are born out by the absorption rates (time to sell) of Knoxville area homes. Today there is a 42 months supply of Knoxville homes priced over one million dollars and only a 9 months supply of those homes priced between $100,000 to $150,000.

Bottom line any way you slice and dice it: Knoxville TN home sales are down compared to the booming market of just a couple of year ago and as long as mortgages continue to be difficult to obtain and unemployment continues to be in the 10% range I don’t see many reasons for our market to improve significantly.

On the brighter side there will continue to be homes bought and sold every day, just fewer of them and probably not for top prices as before.

If you have a house for sale in the Knoxville, Tennessee area right now and it’s been on the market over 30 days here’s some tips you can probably use. More useful home selling tips at www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com including a free copy of my 52 page eBook titled: “450 Ways To Make Your Home Sell Faster”.

Looking to buy a house in the greater Knoxville area? www.HomeCenter.com is also a great place to see all the homes, condos, land, and lots of sale. No registration required, just plug in your search criteria and start looking. Search by Maps, addresses, and areas.

Knoxville tn real estate

Knoxville tn real estate

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Knox County Real Estate Transfers for the week of October 11th

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 7:41 am, October 12th, 2009  
12724 COMBLAIN RD Lot 10 KNOXVILLE 37934

Image by volunteerjim via Flickr

It looks like this past week was another above average week for Knoxville and Farragut real estate transfers. The Knox County Register of Deeds office reported 230 property transfers for that week.

I believe that’s only the third time this year there have been over 200 transfers in one a one week period. Let’s hope this trend continues.

230 property transfers is above average for the year.

230 property transfers is above average for the year.

There was even 2 transfers for over a million dollars; both were around the1.5 million mark.

The #100,000 to $200,000 range still leads the stats with 104 combined which is almost half of the total number of 230.

Lots of talk (and some hard lobbying) for Congress to extend the $8,000 first time buyers tax credit. My guess is it’s even money (50-50) whether that will happen or not.

Congress did pass a bill to extend it for members of the military if they had been stationed anywhere outside the United States at any time during 2009. Those service member will now have until November 2010 to take advantage of the tax credit.

Here’s a great YouTube video I found that explains how the tax credit works. Worth watching for the 2 minutes it runs.

www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com is a great place to start your home search, get tips and advice on how to sell your home, and lots of other information including schools and Knoxville area information. Pay us a visit soon.

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