As the year is drawing to a close and the weather is cooling down, the local mortgage market keeps heating up. Continuing a trend that’s held somewhat steady, the market for mortgages in Shelby County continues to improve over the past year.
Mortgage volume was up 12 percent in October, climbing to a little more than $124 million last month from almost $111 million in October 2012, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
The number of mortgages made in October was 743, up from 729 in October 2012. During that same span, the average mortgage amount rose to $167,329 last month from $151,964 last year.
The same trend was evident looking at the more recent past. October’s 743 mortgages marked a 5.4 percent increase from the 705 filed in September. The average mortgage amount was up a little too (from $166,685 in September to $167,329 in October), but the total volume got a bigger bump, hitting more than $124 million in October from almost $117 million in September.
Year to date through Oct. 31, mortgage volume in Shelby County was about $1.2 billion, up from a little more than $1 billion during the same period in 2012.
“At Trustmark Mortgage, we are seeing an increase in purchase loan activity,” said Trustmark regional mortgage manager and vice president Anne Richards. “With rates still at historic lows, it’s a great time to buy a home. With home values rising again, it’s also a great time to sell a home. The combination of those two factors has helped generate the increase in purchase loans, and we are very pleased with today’s market.”
Steve Swain, senior vice president of consumer direct lending and mortgage at First Tennessee Bank, said he expects his bank’s mortgage numbers to hold roughly steady for the rest of the year.
“One of the things we’re seeing is the local economy is still kind of dragging a little bit, plus you get into this holiday season where most of your mortgage inquiries – they start to drop off,” Swain said. “The good thing is rates are still low.
“Through the rest of this year, we’ll probably stay at a stable production point, probably about where we’ve been all year. Hopefully the first part of the year we’ll see maybe a lift in that, especially if rates stay low.”
Some of the biggest local financial institutions always high on the list of monthly mortgage makers saw gains during October, while some did not. First Tennessee Bank’s October mortgage volume, for example, was almost $1.4 million, down from a little more than $2 million in October 2012, according to Chandler Reports.
Meanwhile, Independent Bank’s mortgage volume was up during the same period, rising to $590,406 from $263,142, while Magna Bank’s volume fell to almost $6.2 million from almost $10.2 million.
Community Mortgage Corp. is generally near or at the top of the list of lenders from one month to the next, and while that was true again in October, its volume was also down during the month. Community Mortgage Corp.’s October volume was almost $11.2 million, down from a little more than $14 million one year earlier.
Dean Puryear, mortgage production manager at Regions Mortgage, said the market has transitioned, such that refinances for the first half of the year were driving the market. Now, he explained, purchase money is driving the market.
“The market’s probably 70-30 right now, purchase to refinance, in volume mix,” Puryear said. “Seventy percent purchase, 30 percent refinance. If you’d gone back to the first half of the year, it would have been the opposite of that.”
Chandler Reports is a division of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc.