CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Last month home sales were up across the country at the highest rate in almost a year. Here in the Tennessee Valley sales are even stronger.

Local realtors say with sales up more than 15 percent last month, they are very encouraged when it comes to the Chattanooga housing market. They say the combination of an increase in jobs and low mortgage rates equals more home sales for the Tennessee Valley.

Laura Powers has a family of six, including triplets. They moved to Signal Mountain last summer and have been renting. They are looking to buy now for one reason.

"The interest rates, quite honestly are just phenomenal right now, and I think we can buy and pay the same or less as if we were renting," says Powers.

"In our lifetime there's never been a time when we could help more people get into homes," says realtor Darne Ridgley. 

Ridgley is a realtor with Keller Williams. He says with all time low mortgage rates, people are taking advantage of buying new homes.

Here in Chattanooga sales were up 15 percent last month over November. That is up almost 3 and half percent from the year before.

"The affordability is the same as it was in 1979. So people can get into a home and it cost them on a monthly basis the same as it could in 1979. I mean, the price of cars has quadrupled in that time frame," says Ridgley.

On top of that, prices in the local market are leveling out.

"They were going up and down for several months last year and now they really hit a good low mark and I don't think they're going to drop drastically or increase," says Candice Kortyka with Keller Williams.

Realtors say not only can buyers nab a great interest rate, more loan programs are available too.

"There's a lot of different loan options available. There's still a hundred dollar down program with HUD. There is a hundred percent program with USDA in certain areas," says Christina Lane, a mortgage advisor.

Real estate experts say if you are looking for that first set of keys now is the time to buy.

As for the Powers family, they may be one step closer to settling down.

"I know it made the kids list, considering they can each have their own bedroom," says Powers.

Another ripple effect from all this: home construction. More homes were built in the final quarter of last year as more people indicated they are ready to buy.