Shelby County home sales increased 20 percent from January to March compared to last year, but that number requires some reading between the lines.
That’s why real estate information company Chandler Reports is hosting its “Master Your Market: First Quarter Update” event for local agents, appraisers, builders, investors and bankers Thursday, May 3.
Topics of discussion include Shelby County residential and commercial sales, mortgages, foreclosures and new housing inventory.
The event is slated for Thursday from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Great Hall of Germantown’s Media Room, 1900 S. Germantown Road, behind City Hall next to the tennis courts.
The keynote presentation will be from John Gemmill, director of the Memphis field office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Gemmill, who will update the crowd on HUD housing, mortgage activity, foreclosures and rentals, said HUD’s portfolio of foreclosures are drifting downward, a trend he attributes to underwriting standards going up.
“Most foreclosures happen fairly close to the origin of the loan, and the things that we’ve been doing over the last few years are holding up pretty well, so our REO (real estate-owned) portfolio is way down from what it used to be,” Gemmill said. “We used to have more than the banks privately held, and now we’re kind of more of a minor player, which is I guess good news.”
One piece he plans to expand on is the recent $25 billion U.S. Attorney General settlement and how that impacts the state.
“The settlement is a big deal and we hope it might be turning the tide on some of the foreclosure prevention efforts,” Gemmill said. “The state got $141 million that they’re putting into mostly going into the Tennessee HUD agency, a lot of which is going to go to housing counseling and foreclosure prevention.”
Gemmill will also touch on the multifamily situation in HUD’s portfolio, and also with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s efforts around blight reduction.
“We’re looking particularly at the kind of partnerships that exist between multifamily operators – management companies and owners and social service providers,” Gemmill said. “That’s something that we’re kind of ramping up; one of the key goals of HUD is to try to promote efforts that use our multifamily housing as a platform for improving tenant’s quality of life.”
Following Gemmill’s presentation will be a panel discussion with Joe Spake of inCity Realty and David Umsted, vice president of Merchants and Planters Bank Home Loans.
Spake said a hot topic for his business right now is the impact of syndicated websites like Zillow and Trulia on consumer confidence. Pricing on Trulia, for instance, only reflects one tax rather than including both county and city taxes, which can skew out-of-town homebuyers’ perception of pricing.
“The information that the consumer is getting and something that comes out of a computer in Seattle versus something that comes out of an agent in Memphis,” Spake said.
It all goes back to Spake’s mantra that all real estate is micro-local.
“Consult a professional who knows your community,” Spake said. “The people that are on the ground doing it in the community for me are the people with the credibility.”
Trends Spake is seeing right now are that people aren’t moving unless they have to, such as for a job relocation. In short, if sellers have to bring money to the closing table, they’re staying put.
That, coupled with investors picking up low-end properties in bulk, are keeping inventory levels at historic lows.
“When the inventory was high, lots of houses were selling, so there’s lots of people that bought into the bubble,” Spake said. “Now, even though they might have a great house, it’s not worth what they paid for it.”
The cost to attend the seminar is $10 for Chandler Reports subscribers and $15 for non-subscribers. Cost includes a copy of the presentation and first quarter market trend reports.
Anyone interested in attending can contact Wendy Greenlaw, Chandler Reports business development manager, at 528-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chandler Reports is a division of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc.