Putnam County housing market “not very competitive”

Cookeville – Skender-Newton Realty is a giant in the Upper Cumberland real estate game. The firms namesake, Heather Skender-Newton (Skender-Newton) has been operating in the real estate space for 25 years and understands more than anyone how important inventory is to either a flowering or floundering housing market. 

Spoiler alert. Very important.

“From July to November of last year, there was a slight increase month-over-month with regard to active home inventory (AHI),” said Skender-Newton. “December, likely due to the holidays, was stagnant.”

AHI bounced around all year, as predicted.

“Of course, December saw the least number of new home listings hitting the market,” she said. “The holidays tend to repress real estate activity for most. At the end of the year, there were 3.5 months of inventory on the market. That still indicates a seller’s market.”

According to market analysis site redfin.com, in November of last year, 31,090 homes were for sale in Tennessee in November, up 0.6% from 2022. The 7,125 newly listed homes were up 5.4% year-over-year with an average of four months’ supply, also up year-over-year.

The housing market in Putnam County is not very competitive.

“The average homes sell for about 3% below list price and go pending in around 62 days,” according to the site, “and can sell for around list price and go pending in around 34 days.”

In the Upper Cumberland, there was a small increase in home values year-over-year. 

“Are people spending more for less,” said Skender-Newton. “Yes. If they are getting financing. Due to more interest paid, they borrow more money for less house.” 

Once again, interest rates are the elephant on every negotiating table.

“Interestingly enough, we are seeing many cash buyers,” said Skender-Newton. “They are paying prices relative to 2022, as the values have remained relatively flat compared to year-over-year. Long story short, if you can, cash is the way to go.”

She says Interest rates are always a player in the game. Simply put, higher interest rates equal higher costs, and that is when homebuyers feel the weight. 

“Rates are also the culprit for pricing people out of affordable properties,” she said. “Some people who would have been able to purchase pre-interest rate hikes, have put their home buying dreams on pause because they cannot afford the interest.”

Mike Brady of the Highland Real Estate says the Upper Cumberland will always be a great place to buy a home despite what may be happening in market trends and interest rates.

“We have so much to offer by comparison with our central location in the state, state parks, climate conditions, cost of living and the cost of real estate being so much more affordable than other states,” said Brady. “One thing I have seen since the boom in 2020 is Putnam County has always had a stronger market than our surrounding counties.” 

Brady says out-of-town buyers see the beautiful country in the Upper Cumberland, and some of the more rural areas, which have been more dormant in the past, are even seeing a bump in sales.

“Surrounding counties have flourished in the past two years which in my opinion helps the Upper Cumberland as a whole,” said Brady.

Interest rates are always a concern when buying a home, but inventory plays a role in how many homes are selling and for how much. The two can go hand in hand down the home stretch to realizing the American dream for many families.

“As an expert in this field,” said Skender Newton, “I wouldn’t let the rates affect my decision. One can refinance later. If a buyer waits for the rates to drop, there are many others doing the same, and they will all likely be in bidding wars, driving the prices up. You can’t go back and change what you paid for the property, but you can change your rate.”

This is part two of a continuing series. Check back soon for part three. Read part one HERE.

Skender-Newton Realty is located at 769 Dacco Drive in Cookeville. For more information call 931-261-9001.

Image by Freepik.

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Ron Moses is the managing editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal and can be reached via email. Send an email.

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