CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- As we get ready to enter into a new year, Chattanooga realtors say they anticipate 2013 being a great year for the real estate market.
Local realtors say historically low interest rates, combined with job growth and affordability, are keeping the market strong.
"We just recently heard about prices falling again in Chicago and New York. So, we're happy to be here in Chattanooga with the job growth and the retirees coming here," says realtor Mark Machaskee.
Machaskee has been in real estate for the past six years.
He and his wife were out looking at homes.
"There's already three offers on that foreclosure and somebody came right behind us into the house. So that gives you a little idea," he says.
The latest numbers from the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors show homes are staying on the market for a shorter period of time, as more people are buying.
When asked what factors are making the local market strong, Machaskee says, "Low taxes and low cost of living. I think that, and the job growth we've seen with Wacker and Amazon, VW, of course."
"With the job market here, I think we're poised to be the next Silicon Valley," says Realtor Ryan King.
King has been in real estate for 11 years.
"This is probably the second busiest year I've ever had. And I feel like 2013 has a lot of potential to be a great real estate year in Chattanooga," he says.
King says he is seeing more young buyers enter the housing market, realizing they can get more bang for their buck, versus renting.
"For what you can get in rental, you can pay a mortgage, easily, with taxes, insurance and principle. You can pay a mortgage and you're building equity," he says.
King says it is turning into a seller's market, as inventory decreases, but urges buyers to take advantage of historically low interest rates.
"The buyers are still out there because interest rates are so low, and the money's coming out. Lenders, mortgage companies are loaning money and so the buyers, they're buying."
On the national level, there are positive signs as well.
Home sales were up nearly 17 percent this year, the biggest percentage gain in 14 years.
And industry observers say that is expected to climb even more, as consumer confidence continues to grow.
Larry Kelley was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his ex-wife, Brenda Wilson, outside of a church in 1990.
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