By Dusty Cantrell,
Herald Staff writer
Lower mortgage rates have spurred on the housing market in the Seymour and Greater Knoxville area, a report by the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors states. The recession in the United States was not enough to force homebuyers away from the market locally. For existing homes, sales nationally reached new heights – 5.25 million for the 2001 sales year. Local realty agents say Seymour was in line with the local and national averages, and sales indeed seemed insulated from the poor economy late last year. The weak manufacturing , technical, and investment markets meanwhile, all were hit heavily after September 11th 2001, de-stabilizing an already soft market. The average rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage for last year was 6.97%, the largest average rate since 1998. Overall, mortgage rates for the second half of 2002 are predicted to increase to about 7.3%, a sign that investors believe the economy is gaining strength again. The average price for a home in the Knoxville surrounding area last year was $137,000. Another area of strength was noted in the report, including re-finance of homes soaring nationwide due to lower interest rates, keeping mortgage lenders flooded with activity late last year.

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