BERC Q1 housing report: Mixed signals as single-fa...

BERC Q1 housing report: Mixed signals as single-family permits drop, housing prices rise

Tennessee’s housing report for the first quarter of 2019 shows mixed signals, with single-family permits trending downward even as the economy and job market continue on solid footing.

That’s according to the latest quarterly housing report from the MTSU Business and Economic Research Center in partnership with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

The report shows single-family permits dropping 2.4 percent from the previous quarter and 9.4 percent year-over-year. Total permits, however, increased by 13.16 percent year-over-year, including a 107.4 percent jump in multifamily permits.

Dr. Murat Arik

Dr. Murat Arik

“Economic indicators indicate a strong upward trend,” noted BERC Director Murat Arik, author of the report. “Employment rates, including nonfarm employment, and the labor force have experienced continuous quarterly growth … and unemployment rates have seen a decline for the previous two quarters.”

Meanwhile, housing prices continue to rise across the state.

See the full current and previous reports with detailed breakdowns and summaries by going to and clicking the appropriate links.

Other report highlights:

  • HOME PRICES: Compared to 2018’s first quarter, housing prices increased across all MSAs, Tennessee, and the United States. The most significant increases were in Nashville (8.6 percent) and Knoxville (8.2 percent). The least significant change was in the Kingsport-Bristol MSA, with an increase of 1.8 percent.
  • HOME SALES: Nashville is the only area that exhibited growth in closings from the previous quarter at 0.02 percent, while closings fell 2.5 percent in Knoxville and 0.53 percent in Memphis. Only Nashville experienced an increase in inventory for the quarter, 7.22 percent, while inventories declined 4.15 percent in Knoxville and 1.42 percent in Memphis.
  • CONSTRUCTION: Multifamily permits increased 0.8 percent and total permits by 0.5 percent from the previous quarter. Compared to the South and the United States, Tennessee displayed the most significant negative growth for single-family permits over the year. However, Tennessee also exhibited the most significant annual growth for both multifamily and total permits.
  • FORECLOSURES: Tennessee’s quarterly foreclosure rate matches the United States at 0.23 percent.

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. For more information, visit

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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