In the past couple of weeks, the words "housing bubble" have infiltrated national headlines, but one local Realtor said that—although there are some signs that bring to mind the bubble days—there isn't cause for great concern in Chattanooga.
"If you don't learn from your history, you're bound to repeat it," Brandi Pearl Thompson, broker associate with Keller Williams Realty in downtown Chattanooga, said. "In theory, we've learned from our history because there are checks and balances in place."
Relaxed lending regulations that led to a high number of foreclosures, in addition to the recession and other factors, created what many dubbed a “housing market crisis.”
Housing bubbles usually start with increased demand. And there is an increasing demand in Chattanooga. Many homes are getting multiple offers, and there is more competition, Thompson said.
Home prices are also increasing. According to the most recent report from the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors, home prices increased, with the median sales price up 3.8 percent to $135,000.
The fear is that if prices rise too high, too fast people will drop out of the market. Demand then decreases at the same time as supply increases.
According to the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index recently showed that home prices in 20 major metropolitan areas had increased at the strongest pace since the bubble years.
But Chattanooga is currently overall in a "balanced market," Thompson said.
That varies somewhat from location to location, but generally, Chattanooga is in recovery mode, although some people do remain skeptical about the situation.
And although lending standards are loosening somewhat and becoming more competitive, it takes a good credit score to get a loan.
Before the housing crisis, it had also become too easy to get loans.
"But there are standards in place to prevent that," she said. "Is it 100 percent preventable? No. But nothing is 100 percent preventable. You have to loosen the standards in some ways."
Thompson also said that new construction is bouncing back. And area developers have recently announced the start of new projects.
For example, after announcing earlier this month that he is working on a new subdivision in Ooltewah called McKenzie Meadows, developer Jay Bell said this week that he is expanding another project called Stonewall Farms.
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Click here to read the most recent report from the local Realtors association.