Someone let out a cheer earlier this month at the Memphis Area Association of Realtors 2013 Residential Real Estate Summit as MAAR President Regina Hubbard gave her optimistic forecast for the local housing market.
Also on hand for the summit was Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. He, too, assured those in attendance that better days likely were ahead for Memphis.
The latest mortgage activity numbers bear that out. Banks and mortgage lenders made 1,624 purchase mortgages in Shelby County during the first quarter, a 2 percent improvement from the 1,589 mortgages during the first quarter of 2012, according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
Data for this report included purchase mortgages only, not refinances.
Mortgages averaged $158,867 during the quarter, up 10.9 percent from $143,225 during the same period in 2012, and the total volume of almost $258 million marked a 13 percent gain over the $228 million volume in the first quarter of 2012.
Officials presenting at the MAAR summit pointed to a variety of metrics as evidence of a rebound, including mortgages as well as sales. Yun also noted that Memphis didn’t see the excessive problems that other areas of the country did during the bust.
‘The Memphis market is moving forward in a positive way for 2013,” Hubbard told The Daily News recently. “Total sales are up 7.1 percent over 2012. We expect sales to continue to improve throughout the year.”
Regarding mortgage activity for the largest banks based in Memphis during the quarter, First Tennessee Bank was down 32 percent (from 19 mortgages in the first quarter of 2012 to 13 mortgages during the first quarter of 2013). Independent Bank was down 46 percent because of its mortgage volume, which dropped from $1.6 million in Q1 2012 to $875,600 in Q1 2013, although the number of mortgages during the quarter stayed the same (10).
Magna’s numbers also took a slight dip, although Magna chairman, president and CEO Kirk Bailey said the two first quarter periods were comparable.
“Residential mortgage origination volume and revenue per loan for the first quarter of 2013 were comparable to the same period in 2012,” Bailey said.
“The mix of purchase business and refinance business has changed, with purchase business increasing as the economy improves and people take advantage of reasonable home prices and very low interest rates for home loans. We expect mortgage originations to remain strong in the second quarter of 2013.”
Results for the quarter were mixed when comparing some of those smaller banks to the largest national banks and lenders that operate in Memphis.
Between the two first quarter periods, for example, Regions was up 13 percent (from 64 mortgages in Q1 2012 to 72 in Q1 2013) and Wells Fargo was up 8 percent (71 in Q1 2012 to 77 in Q1 2013), according to the Chandler numbers.
Bank of America grew its mortgages from 15 to 16 and its volume from almost $2 million to $2.5 million.
Meanwhile, Community Mortgage Corp. led the lender list for the quarter in terms of both purchase mortgage totals and dollar volume, with 176 mortgages that had an average amount of $165,584 and totaled a little more than $29 million.
Magna Bank followed, with 115 mortgages totaling a little more than $22 million. Next up was Patriot Bank (73 mortgages totaling $15.2 million) and Wells Fargo, which had more mortgages than Patriot Bank (77) but a lower total volume ($13.6 million).
Chandler Reports is a division of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc.