BERC: Strong housing numbers face uncertainty of c...

BERC: Strong housing numbers face uncertainty of coronavirus impacts ahead

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Tennessee’s housing report for the fourth quarter of 2019 showed strong indicators leading into the new year, but the ongoing negative economic impacts from the coronavirus outbreak makes for an uncertain future as effects to the overall economy unfold.

The MTSU Business and Economic Research Center’s statewide report for the fourth quarter showed that Tennessee experienced “exponential growth in its housing market, as single-family, multi-family and total permits have seen considerable increases for the quarter and the year,” noted report author Murat Arik, director of BERC at Middle Tennessee State University.

Dr. Murat Arik, director, Business and Economic Research Center

Dr. Murat Arik

Housing prices continued to increase across the state, homeowner and rental vacancy rates dropped from the previous quarter (lowest homeowner vacancy rate in 14 years), and state employment indicators were strong. Tennessee and U.S. foreclosure rates were flat for the quarter and down year over year. See the full report here.

“We are currently monitoring what’s going on in U.S., and it is quite likely some of the economic indicators will be affected in the coming months because of the coronavirus,” Arik noted.

Other fourth quarter report highlights:

Permits up

Single-family and total housing permits have grown significantly, with increases of 22.6% and 27.1%, respectively year over year. Multi-family permits increased a resounding 44.6%.

Compared to the previous quarter, Tennessee experienced growth in single-family, multi-family and total permits: increases of 7.4%, 37.8%, and 14.4%, respectively.

Home prices up

Home prices increased across all Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Tennessee and the U.S. year over year. The most significant increases were in Morristown (10%) and Johnson City (8.6%). The least significant of these increases was in the Jackson MSA (1.4%). All but two MSAs’ annual change in housing prices have exceeded the United States.
However, the quarterly growth rate slowed in six of the 10 MSAs and in Tennessee. Of these quarterly growth rate declines, the Jackson MSA was the most significant, decreasing 2.8 percentage points.

Closings up

Nashville closings increased, but inventory dropped for the quarter. Nashville and Knoxville experienced increases in closings from the previous quarter, with Nashville closings rising 3.49% and Knoxville jumping 2%. Memphis experienced a decrease of 3.63%.

BERC’s report is funded by Tennessee Housing Development Agency, or THDA. The quarterly report offers an overview of the state’s economy as it relates to the housing market and includes data on employment, housing construction, rental vacancy rates, real estate transactions and mortgages, home sales and prices, delinquencies and foreclosures.

The Business and Economic Research Center operates under the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU.

About THDA

THDA is the state’s housing finance agency and is committed to expanding safe, sound, affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Tennesseans. This is achieved through a robust home loan program, competitive funding for local nonprofit and municipal agencies, and the administration of nine federally funded programs. THDA publishes research on affordable housing and THDA programs and beneficiaries. THDA also coordinates state planning for housing through the Consolidated Planning process, annual Action Plans, and annual Performance Reports. See for more information.

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