Wednesday, July 23, 2014 · 6:11 p.m.

Local housing market continues to recover

State leaders update residents on mortgage settlement

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Local leaders said the Chattanooga-area housing market continues to recover. (Photo: Staff)

The area housing market is continuing to recover, local experts said recently. 

Housing affordability is high, and interest rates are at a historically low rate. Inventory is down, and there is more competition in the market, leaders with the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors said.  

"The residential real estate recovery is tentative and fragile, but it's still a recovery," according to a news release from the organization. 

In January, local leaders saw a large increase in the number of closed sales, with an increase of 34 percent over last year.

New listings in the region were down 3.6 percent, and inventory decreased by 10.3 percent. 

 The median sales price rose 4 percent to $130,000.

Days on market decreased 14 percent to 117 days. That's the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.

“It's important to watch the economy since job growth directly fuels home purchases and since the housing industry generates jobs," Mark Blazek, president of the Realtor association, said in a prepared statement. “The economy has added about 6.1 million jobs over the past 35 months, a sluggish but encouraging trend. Interest rates are slowly moving higher in some regions, though the affordability picture remains extremely attractive.”

Local homeowners could benefit from national mortgage settlement 
As local Realtors updated area residents about the status of the housing market last week, state officials said that Tennessee homeowners have benefited from the national mortgage settlement.

Tennessee homeowners have received more than $161 million in relief under the settlement, according to a progress report released last week by settlement monitor Joe Smith.

Tennessee is participating in the $25 billion national mortgage settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers, according to a news release. 

This settlement arose from an investigation into unacceptable nationwide mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices.

The servicers participating in the national mortgage settlement announced in February are Bank of America, JP Morgan & Chase, Citi, GMAC/Ally Financial and Wells Fargo.

The recent report shows that Tennessee homeowners have now received nearly twice as much relief as they had three months earlier.

This $161 million in relief includes loan modifications, refinances, short sales and deficiency waivers, and it refers to money received from March 1 to Dec. 31, 2012.

The report also shows that servicers are offering an additional $34 million in loan modification savings to eligible Tennessee homeowners.

It is expected that the national mortgage settlement will ultimately provide more than $200 million in direct benefits to Tennessee homeowners, with the majority of benefits designed to allow homeowners to avoid foreclosure.

“This progress report shows the substantial relief eligible Tennessee homeowners have obtained since the settlement was announced one year ago,” Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper said in a prepared statement. “My office is continuing its outreach efforts to ensure that struggling Tennessee homeowners either receive benefits under the settlement or from other state and federal programs.”

For more information on this issue, call 855-876-7283 or click here

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