Housing Sales Down

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If you're looking for a new home, now might be the best time to buy. A report released today by the government shows new home prices are the lowest since the 70's. While this is good news for buyers, it isn't the best report for sellers.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel has some tips to keep you out of the red as you try to market your home.

It may not be an easy time to sell your home, but buying could be a breeze. That's because so the supply of new homes compared to the demand is huge. We talked to one local realtor about staying ahead of the game.

"The industry and job situations in Knoxville are pretty steady because we have a good economy here," realtor Jim Lee said.

And that means, while the rest of the nation is falling behind in home sales, East Tennessee is staying right on track.

"I think the trend we're seeing now is people are buying a little more expensive homes because they have higher expectations," Lee said.

But as a national trend, with so many houses on the market, the prices are dropping. In fact, in September the median price of a new home posted the biggest decline in 35-years. Amazing when just five months ago, the market hit a record high in April at almost 260,000. In this area, though, the market is doing pretty well. The Knoxville Association of Realtors shows that in the past three years, the prices of homes in this area are increasing. The median price for a three bedroom home in 2004 stood at $129,900. In '05 it increased to $139,900, and this year it's holding at $149,900.

"The prices are going up, but market time is staying about the same," Lee said

Nationally, it's a little different. Some houses are staying on the market so long, owners have to lower the price to attract a buyer. In the Northeast, the median price has fallen to $259,000. That's a 5.1 percent decrease. Tennessee falls into the Southern region. Here, you're seeing the smallest change at 1.6-percent to $184,000.
In the Midwest the median price of houses has fallen 2.3 percent to $169,000. And in the West, to $332,000 -- a difference of 4.3 percent.

So, if you want to avoid the price slump, take this advice:

"If you've got a house for sale and you get an offer now... you need to look very kindly at that offer, no matter what it is, and try to make that work," Lee said.

Lee also says anytime of year is a good time to buy or sell, but you might have better luck in the spring or summer months.