TRI-CITIES, TN/VA (WJHL) – The Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) said home prices were up by double digits, and sales were down by double digits during the first quarter of this year in the Tri-Cities region’s housing market.

NETAR said it’s “a familiar story” right now in both Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. According to NETAR, higher mortgage rates are pushing first-time buyers out of this market.

Jan Stapleton, the 2022 NETAR President and spokesperson, said there are three housing market categories in this region: the affordability market, the move-up market and the luxury market.

Stapleton said the affordability market is made up of mostly house flippers and first-time buyers. There were 605 homes sold across the Tri-Cities region in that market during the first quarter, but that’s down 33 percent from last year, according to NETAR.

NETAR said the move-up market sees the most activity. It also accounted for the most home sales in the first quarter, finishing out with 790 sales. This market also had fewer sales than last year. It was down 13.6 percent, NETAR said.

The luxury market is exactly what the name suggests. 159 luxury homes were sold so far this year. It also was down compared to 2022’s first-quarter sales at 11.3 percent.

NETAR said those numbers are below last year’s because “it’s a comparison of today’s moderating market to last year’s all-time record high market.”

The organization added that the state of the market reflects what happened in the two years before the COVID-19 pandemic, which was considered strong housing market years for the region.

Despite the lower numbers, NETAR said demand is going up and it predicts the housing market to pick up in the coming months, which is peak home buying and selling season.