New home sales numbers show an encouraging shift in the real estate market, both nationally and in East Tennessee.
As reported in a USA Today article, new home sales rose almost 16 percent from December to January. Economists say it's a sign of consumer confidence in the housing market.
Homes sales have improved in Knoxville, too.
The Knoxville Area Association of Realtors recorded 583 closed home sales in January 2012. This January, that number jumped to 683.
Year to year numbers look also look better, with 8,585 closed home sales for the entire 2011 year. In 2012, the total reached 10,470.
Ben and Sara Andies moved into their new West Knoxville home less than a month ago, and are still unpacking.
"New paint, new floor... just surrounded by boxes and trying to find things!" said Sara.
The couple is expecting their first child in a few weeks, and say timing of the sale was on their side.
"Typically the market kind of lulls around the holidays, but we actually saw a spike during that time," Sara said. "We were able to find something during that time, which was surprising to us, and closed shortly thereafter."
Andies says she and her husband have learned from watching other friends attempt to buy or sell a home.
"We have a friend who has been trying to sell her house for some time now and she's encountered several bumps in the road," she said. "And we have another couple friend of ours who were trying to buy, and they also encountered some bumps."
With plenty of work left on their new home, the couple says they're happy to have found the right investment.
While some choose to buy, many others have kept the rental market strong.
On Tuesday, the "Sterling Group" broke ground on a new apartment complex in West Knoxville. The 249-unit "Wellsley Park at Deane Hill" complex will feature one, two, and three-bedroom apartments.
"We did an entire study in the Southeast, and Knoxville ranked right up there in the top five communities that we looked at," said Sterling Group Chairman, Larry Swank.
"In 2008 there was a sea change in home ownership; 2008-2009 showed that," he said. "It wasn't necessarily a good investment, it was more lifestyle choice. So now, you have people that can't afford it because of new limitations on financing homes, and two, don't want a home because of mobility of jobs, and so they rent."
The complex, located off Morrell Road near West Town Mall and Food City, is set to open in late 2014.