Local realty professionals are encouraged

Cookeville – What is the housing market outlook for 2024?

Nationally, there is an expected mix of continuity and change in both the housing market and economy against a backdrop of modest economic growth, according to realtor.com

As mortgage rates fluctuate, houses become more affordable. 

“Interest rates have begun a slight yet consistent downturn over the last couple of months,” said Amber Flynn-Jared, Broker-Owner of RECO in Cookeville. “This has brought some relief to current borrowers who have seen higher rates impact their buying power. While it has not affected down payment or loan products, per se, it has affected the amount of house they can afford.”

Affordability is key when looking to live the American Dream of homeownership. Home prices have increased recently, but Flynn-Jared says she is encouraged by the state of the market in the Upper Cumberland. 

“I am encouraged about where things are heading,” said Flynn Jared. “Experiencing a slight downturn in rates and overall stability impacts buyer comfortability. With those rates trending down, albeit slowly, we are seeing more buyers jump into action, even at what is the slowest time of the year.” 

Forecasting transactions in the Upper Cumberland is tricky.

“For example,” said Flynn Jared, “we are already experiencing a 30% increase in pending transactions for January over 2023 numbers. Now that buyers are adjusting to the new normal and there is continued confidence in a stabilizing market, I’m hopeful we will be able to experience more controlled growth than we saw in the pandemic days.”

Are people spending more for less?

“What is very surprising is that both the average and the median sales price have increased by $5,000 this year,” said Flynn-Jared. “While a much smaller increase than we have seen in the last few years, we are still trending in the right direction, but at a much slower and more sustainable pace.”

Flynn-Jared says sales were down for her and her firm in 2023 compared to 2022, but those numbers could increase in the coming year. The Upper Cumberland offers “tremendous opportunities” for low to no down payment options on home loans. 

“The vast majority of our area qualifies for 100% financing through the Rural Development program,” said Flynn Jared. “It’s important to be educated about your options and not automatically assume that you can’t qualify or afford home ownership. With rate buy downs and seller concessions returning to the market, buyers have more opportunities to get into a home than they have in years, even with the price increases that we have experienced over the last decade.” 

There may be light at the end of this dark economic tunnel, and the Upper Cumberland is still a great place to buy a home. Interest rates will level out, home prices will drop and the American dream will live on.

“We are so blessed to live in an area insulated from the crazy swings of the market that so many larger cities experience,” said Flynn-Jared. “While it has been challenging to see the changes to our local market, especially to entry-level homebuyers, we still have a very healthy market and economic forecast as a whole. Coupling that with local government officials and civic leaders who are passionate about our communities, increasing opportunities for affordable housing, and seeing healthy, sustainable growth for our area, I can’t imagine living and working anywhere else.”

This is the final part in a series. Check out part one HERE and part two HERE.

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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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