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VOL. 126 | NO. 32 | Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fayette, Tipton Housing Markets Still Slipping

By Sarah Baker

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January home sales declined in Fayette and Tipton counties – 3.2 and 40 percent, respectively, from the same month a year ago – and Shelby County’s neighbors to the east and north remain buyers’ markets as home prices remain stagnant.

Fayette County saw 30 home sales last month, nearly unchanged from January 2010’s 31, according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

January also saw a 9.1 percent decrease from December’s 33 sales, and a 2.5 percent boost from November’s 28.

Tommie Criswell-Jones, vice president of Crye-Leike Realtors Inc., hopes the county’s home sales this year will mimic the sign on U.S. 64 that reads, “Fayette County is on the grow.”

“My phone had been really quiet in November and December – I think a lot of people wanted to wait and see what was going to happen with the economy – and Jan. 1 came and they were feeling positive and encouraged and they started making those real estate moves and decisions,” she said. “2011 is the turn-around year for real estate.”

Home sales in Fayette averaged $216,034, up 0.9 percent from $214,209 in January 2010, and average size jumped 17.4 percent to 2,887 last month from 2,459 square feet in January 2010.

But January’s average price per square foot dipped 12 percent – $81 per foot in 2011 compared to $92 in 2010 – a reflection of buyers being able to get more home for their dollar.

“You can get so much house for your money, for the monthly payment,” said Jones. “They (buyers) recognized that it was an excellent time to purchase and they went and bought a bigger house in a part of the country where taxes were a little more affordable, so the monthly payments were reduced dramatically over Shelby County and they took advantage of it.”

Oakland’s 38060 ZIP code produced 14 sales – the most out of all 12 Fayette County ZIP codes – making up 36.6 percent of the county’s total sales. Added amenities like shopping, new restaurants, physicians and recreation are all a part of Oakland’s growth and improved quality of life, Jones said.

“Oakland, we’re beginning to become a bit more cosmopolitan,” Jones said. “At 8 o’clock in the morning, 5 o’clock in the afternoon, Highway 64 is extremely busy with traffic going to and from work.”

Piperton’s 38017 ZIP code topped the county for average size (5,058 square feet) and average price ($403,363). Average price per square foot went to Hickory Withe’s 38002 ($144 per foot).

The price range with the most activity last month in Fayette County was $50,000 to $99,999, accounting for 16.7 percent of the county’s total sales. Conversely, January 2010’s most active price range was $100,000 to $149,000.

Meanwhile, Tipton County saw 24 home sales in January, down 40 percent from 40 home sales the same month a year ago, and less than half of December’s 58 total.

While January is historically a month where numbers are lower due to the holidays and the winter cycle, the numbers for November and December were elevated slightly because loans from the tax credit were trying to close in the 2010 calendar year with the remaining tax credits that were still available, said Stacy Craig, agent with RE/MAX Premier.

Tipton County’s home sales averaged $91,828 in January, down 19.1 percent from $113,521 in 2010. Average price per square foot also took a hit, dropping 18.3 percent to $49 in 2011 from $60 in 2010. But average square footage increased to 2,068 last month from 1,609 in 2010.

“Noticing that the sales price of our houses have dropped really indicates the fact that people are having to sell their houses cheaper to be able to get them moved,” Craig said.

Topping Tipton’s sales was Covington’s 38019 ZIP code, producing 11 sales accounting for 45.8 percent of the county’s total.

Atoka’s 38004 had the highest average price ($196,625), average price per square foot ($73) and highest average size (2,686 square feet).

“Atoka has more subdivisions and a denser population, so with having that concentration of housing, you’re going to have more turnover,” Craig said.

Like Fayette, the price range with the most activity in Tipton County homes for January was $50,000 to $99,999, accounting for 37.5 percent of the county’s total sales. Last January’s most active price range was $100,000 to $149,000.

One reason Tipton is seeing a dip in price range is because there has been a higher volume of foreclosures and/or investment properties sold in the northern part of the county, Craig said.

“(Lenders are) negotiating with buyers to do short sell terms to be able to get them moved more quickly,” Craig said.

Chandler Reports is a division of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 43 43 12,074
MORTGAGES 78 78 15,834
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 3,130
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 28,832
BANKRUPTCIES 97 97 11,768
BUSINESS LICENSES 18 18 4,292
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 190 190 17,922
MARRIAGE LICENSES 43 43 3,711

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