Knox County, TN Register of Deeds report week of Nov. 29th

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 2:52 pm, November 30th, 2009  
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Here’s the latest report from the Knox County, Tennessee Register of Deeds real estate transactions.

closed real estate transactions for the week of November 29th

closed real estate transactions for the week of November 29th

There were 157 transactions during the past week; that’s about on par for the 150 average we’ve had for 2009.

And as usual the $100,000 to $150,000 price points dominate the number with almost twice as many as any other category.

Even though we have not seen the normal seasonal slowdown yet, I think it may be beginning in December.

Real estate in Knox County and most everywhere else in the United States is in a very highly volatile state right now because of the economy, unemployment, and a lack of consumer confidence. I believe that will be exacerbated this month by the Christmas season. People with holiday parties and shopping foremost in their minds are typically not in the house buying mode at the same time.

According to the Knoxville Realtors Multiple Listing Service there are 3,727 active residential listings and 976 condos in all price points. Here’s a graph showing the current, active listings broken down by price points.

Current Knox County active listings by price points

Current Knox County active listings by price points

By comparing the two graphs you can easily see there’s a huge disparity between the number of current, active listings and those that actually sell.

This also demonstrates that now is an excellent time to buy a house or condo. Excellent fiancing is still available and there is a huge selection of homes for sale. Visit www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com to see all the current active listings listed above plus all the other counties served by the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

Stinging Fork Falls State Natural Area

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 8:48 pm, November 29th, 2009  
Map showing the Cumberland Plateau as defined ...
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Tennessee is a state with lots of scenic beauty and lots of outdoor recreational activities. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has created an awesome lake and river system for boaters, fishermen, and all sort of water sports. East Tennessee, the part I live in, is home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with over 900 miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, and beautiful mountain scenery.

Another little known and used part of Tennessee outdoors is the huge amount of state park, scenic areas, and protected natural areas dotted all over.

I visited one I had never been to today; Stinging Fork Falls Natural Area near Spring City which is about 50 miles south of Knoxville.

Parking area at Stinging Fork Falls near Knoxville, Tennessee

Parking area at Stinging Fork Falls near Knoxville, Tennessee

This state natural area is located on top of the Cumberland Plateau system which covers parts of 5 states, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and northern Alabama & Georgia.

According to the website above Stinging Fork Falls is a 783-acre natural area. It is named for the 30-foot waterfall located within the Stinging Fork gorge. The creek flows over the fan shaped falls, then quickly slips through chutes, and tumbles over cascades below the falls.

topo map of stinging fork fall natural area near Knoxville, TN

topo map of stinging fork fall natural area near Knoxville, TN

It’s only about a mile to Stinging Fork Falls but to get to actually see them you have to climb down inside a 160 feet gorge because the dense brush and trees hides the creek that feeds the falls. But it’s worth the walk, that’s one of the more picturesque waterfalls I’ve seen.

The falls spills into a large, deep pool. I’m betting some skinny dipping has gone on here; this place is pretty isolated and hard to get to.

Unfortunately once you climb down a 160 foot gorge the only way back is UP. It’s pretty steep coming and going but the state has provided a pretty good trail with some steps at the steeper parts but I would still only recommend it to those is pretty good physical condition. I was breathing pretty hard when I came over the top.

Stinging Fork Creek cascades over rock formations.

Stinging Fork Creek cascades over rock formations.

This is a great place to visit if you want to get away from crowds and most everything else. We were there about 2 hours and did not see a single other person; just the sounds of birds, the wind, and the rushing water.

If you love year round out door activities as much as I do, then maybe you need to come visit us in East Tennessee. We have plenty to do for all interests and all seasons.

You might even like it enough to want to move here permenently. Check our areas housing out here: www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com

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Knoxville, TN real estate sales for the week of November 22nd

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 8:54 am, November 23rd, 2009  

It’s the week before Thanksgiving, lets see if the Knoxville area real estate market has any real estate thanks to give.

The Knox County Register of Deeds reports 117 closed transactions in the past week. That about 30 less than average. However the Knoxville Area Association of Realtor’s October sales figures show a 14.5% in October 2009 versus October 2008, go figure.

Here’s the past week’s stats broken down by price points.

Knox County Real Estate transactions recorded

Knox County Real Estate transactions recorded

The lower price points are still dominant, there are just less of them.

The chart below tracks the past 5 years sales volume through October 2009, the latest available data.

Knoxville area sales

Knoxville area real estate sales

So far this year sales are bucking the seasonal downturn and remaining steady. This is almost certainly driven, at least in part, by the $8,000 tax credit for new homebuyers. Now that it’s been extended to sellers who then buy, it will be interesting to see if it drives more sales in the upper price points.

Below is a comparison of Knoxville area sales for the 3rd quarters (July, August, Sept.) broken down by bedrooms; 2 or fewer, 3, and 4 or more.

11 year comparison of average sales prices by bedroom size

11 year comparison of average sales prices by bedroom size

For buyers financing remains a high hurdle. Lenders are demanding more documentation than ever before in addition to squeaky clean credit. Credit markets are in a very volatile state right now; some lenders have even raised their credit score requirements after approving loans based on the former good scores.

However, don’t let any negative talk discourage you from buying if now is the right time for you to buy. There are mortgage loans available at very attractive interest rates and sellers are more flexible than they were last year.

www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com is the place to look at all of the Knoxville area real estate listings for sale.

Please feel free to ask any real estate questions you have or call me to go see some homes for sale.

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Knoxville area real estate sales update

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 6:04 pm, November 20th, 2009  

The October sales figures are out now from the Knoxville Area Association of  Realtors. The total for October was 1,023 for the month which was 149 more than the same time period in 2008.

That’s a 14.5% increase year over year but the most exciting part is that increase came at a time of year when sales have been historically dipping toward the winter lows. I believe the first time home buyers tax credit is continuing to prop up our market.

Here’s an easy to understand at a glance graph of the past 5 years sales including year to date in 2009.

5 year sales comparison

5 year sales comparison

Unfortunately tight money remains the proverbial ‘elephant in the living room’ .

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a speech Monday and opened with this scary statement: “The flow of credit remains constrained, economic activity weak, and unemployment much too high. Future setbacks are possible.”

He’s right though, credit, especially mortgages are still very tough for the average borrower to get, consumer confidence is close to rock bottom, and unemployment is still very high. None of these factors are good news for the housing sector.

I hope everyone enjoys a great Thanksgiving holiday next week.

If you’ve eaten all the turkey and want to surf for some houses, www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com is a great choice.

Visit HouseLogic, the National Association of Realtor’s new consumer website

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 10:00 am, November 18th, 2009  

I’m back in Knoxville after attending the annual National Association of Realtors (NAR) Conference and Expo in San Diego, California.

It was a whirlwind trip filled with lots of learning experiences, reconnecting with Realtor friends, and seeing new products to help buyers and sellers.

San Diego is a very beautiful city with a spectacular and waterfront along San Diego Harbor.


San Diego California skyline from Coronado Island

San Diego California skyline from Coronado Island

One of the most exciting things I saw at the conference was the official unveiling of NAR’s new consumer website, HouseLogic.

HouseLogic is not a listings website like Realtor.com but rather a consumer resource which NAR intends to make the ‘go to’ site for homeowners and buyers to visit for objective and valuable advice, tips, and pretty much everything you need to know about owning and buying real estate.

You can simply visit the site and search to find whatever you’re looking for; it’s laid out very well and easy to navigate. A second option is to sign up for a free account and be able to find more easily projects and tips customized to your area. You’re completely safe signing up with your email address; the site’s privacy statement assures that none of your contact information will ever be passed on to anyone for any reason without your express consent.

I signed up for a free account and was immediately served up some project ideas to save money on energy costs, preventative maintenance on my heating system, and an article on how to receive up to $1,500 in tax credits for replacing an existing heating and air conditioning system. Pretty good stuff and the price was definitely right, FREE.

For buyers NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun had some words about the current market. He said: “said home sales continue to be dominated by lower-priced homes. In fact, NAR data shows nearly 70% of homes sold in September were priced below $250,000.

“The housing market has become much more active at the lower end,” said Yun. “The $8,000 homebuyer tax credit has significantly helped the market and is having its intended impact of stimulating home sales, decreasing high home inventory levels, and helping to stabilize home prices.”

Sales of homes priced below $100,000 are up 22.5% from a year ago. Sales in the upper-end market are still slow, however; homes priced above $500,000 are up only 4% from last year.

Yun projects the homebuyer tax credit will help raise home sales this year by 350,000 to 400,000 among first-time homebuyers—these are buyers who couldn’t have purchased a home without the tax incentive.

“The expansion of the tax credit into 2010 will help raise existing-home sales next year by as much as 15% and increase home prices by 3 to 5%,” he said.

Increased affordability is also helping spur lower end home sales. In September, the national median existing home price was $174,900, down 8.5% from one year ago.

So do yourself a favor, pay a visit to HouseLogic and see what it has to offer you. Better yet sign up for a free account and let the site find things relevant to your needs and get a monthly newsletter (optional) filled with timely information.

Buyers and sellers are also invited to visit KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com to see all the Knoxville area homes for sale as well as find buying and selling tips, schools information, local jobs, recreational opportunities, and lots more Knoxville information.

Please feel free to comment or ask a question either here or email me

Below is a photo of the Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island. This spectacular beachfront hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places and has visited by many famous people.

Eleven U.S. Presidents have visited The Del, starting with Benjamin Harrison in 1891. One of the resort’s most famous visitors was England’s Prince of Wales in 1920. He would later become King Edward VIII, only to give up his throne in 1936 to marry Coronado divorcee Wallis Spencer Simpson. Many have speculated that they may have first met at The Del.

The Del has played host to some of America’s greats, including Thomas Edison, L. Frank Baum and Babe Ruth. Famed aviator Charles Lindbergh was honored at The Del in 1927 after his successful trans-Atlantic flight. At this lavish banquet, a replica of Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis” circled the enormous Crown Room ceiling.

Hollywood has been making movies at The Del since 1901. In 1958, The Del was the backdrop for the comedy classic “Some Like It Hot,” starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. The resort has also seen a steady stream of celebrity visitors – from Charlie Chaplin and Humphrey Bogart to Brad Pitt and Madonna. None of them were there during my visit. ;)

Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island, California

Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island, California


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Knoxville, TN Real Estate transfers for the week of November 15th

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 1:13 pm, November 15th, 2009  

Located in Anderson County on Raccoon Valley Road at Claxton.

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The seller of this delightful country home will consider a lease purchase, call me for details.

Here’s my weekly report on Knox County real estate transfers. I’m coming to you today from San Diego, California where I’m attending the National Association of Realtors (NAR) annual Conference & Expo. It’s been a whirlwind week here of great learning experiences and a huge trade show of new real estate products. I’m heading home early Monday morning.

Below is the Knox County Register of Deeds real estate transfers for the week just passed.

Again this week, no surprises. There were 162 Knox County Real Estate transfers last week with the majority in the lower price points. According to National Association of Realtors statistics first time home buyers have been as much as 45% of the total market.

Recently Congress passed a bill extending the $8,000 tax credit until April 30th of 2010 which should help continue the current sales trends. Hopefully the addition to a similar credit for current homeowners will encourage that group to re-enter the market in the higher prices ranges when they sell an existing home they own.A recent report from NAR says short sales and foreclosures also continue to be a very significant percentage of sales.

“The annual survey of home buyers (not REALTORS®), suggests that the first-time buyer accounts for 45 percent of all buyers. The number of distressed sales, those that are short sales or foreclosed sales, made up 29 percent of all sales in September. It accounted for 45 to 50 percent of all sales late last year and in the early months of this year.”

Here’s what NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun said recently about the housing market:

“We have to be mindful that the tax credit is not only about people in the market. Despite spectacular gains in the stock market, principally from the financial sector recovery, most of the 75 million home-owning families have more wealth tied to their homes. Home values could soon turn consistently positive and help the broad base of middle-class families, but we are not there yet. We’re getting early indications of price stabilization, but we need a steady supply of qualified buyers to meaningfully bring inventories down and return us to a period of normal, steady price growth and to fully remove consumer fears, which would then revive the broader economy. Without a firm foundation for middle-class wealth recovery, the post-recession economic growth likely will be one of the weakest in U.S. history.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions about any portion of the Knoxville area real estate market. If I don’t have the answer I do have access to some of the best sources available and will get the answer for you right away.

www.KnoxvilleHomeCenter.com is the ‘go to’ place to search for all Knoxville area houses, condos, land, lots, and commercial properties. Give me a call or email if you find some you would like to take a look at.

Knox County real estate transfers the week of November 8th.

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 4:33 pm, November 8th, 2009  

World class screened porch on this 4 bedroom Gulf Park beauty, move in condition.

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Another week has passed in Knoxville, Tennessee and here’s the passed week’s real estate transfer report form the Knox County Register of Deeds for Knoxville area and Farragut real estate sales.

It appears from the statistics below there were 160 Knoxville area real estate transfers recorded, the breakdown remains typical of the year, we’ve averaging around 150 transfers per week to date in 2009.

The vast majority of sales are lower end properties with the higher end very slow to move. The 2 sales over 1 million dollars were the Lanesborough and Derby Run apartment complexes in the town of Farragut so no single family residential sales over a million bucks this week.

Some good news for the Knoxville market for a change, Congress passed an extension of the $8,000 tax credit for qualifying buyers.

The credit was scheduled to expire at the end of November but it is now officially extended until April 30th of 2010 and buyers still have an additional 60 days past that date to get their home purchase closed. With financing and appraisals taking much longer than normal in today’s Knoxville area real estate market you sometimes need every one of those 60 days to get your transaction to the settlement table.

Some additional changes to the tax credit were that it has now been expanded to include current homeowners who sell their existing home and then buy again. They are now eligible for a $6,500 tax credit when buying if they have lived in the home they sell for at least 5 of the past 8 years.

Listing price – Knoxville

Some new limits on income (higher) and requirements when filing for the credit, I wrote a recent post about that here.

Knoxville Home Center.com remains your ‘go to’ web location to search for real estate in the greater Knoxville, TN area. NO REGISTRATION required and all listings are updated daily.
Please feel free to comment here or email me with any questions.
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