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VOL. 129 | NO. 49 | Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2014 Home Sales Off to Slow Start

By Amos Maki

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Shelby County home sales were up in February when compared to the same month last year but not enough to overcome January’s sluggish start, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports.

Memphis area Realtors sold 983 homes in February, a 7 percent increase from February 2013 but still down from 1,101 homes sold in January.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

Realtors sold 983 homes in February, up 7 percent from 918 in February 2013 but still down from 1,101 homes sold in January, according to Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

The February sales activity wasn’t enough to offset January’s slow start. Year to date, home sales are down 8 percent compared to the same two-month period to begin 2013. The 1,101 homes sold in January were down 18 percent from 1,338 homes sold in January 2013.

Realtors said an unusually cold winter has dampened sales activity. Following a bitterly cold January, February did not offer much relief, with an average temperature of 41.4 degrees, 4.4 degrees below normal.

“I believe the cold weather had an impact on January and February sales,” said Greg Glosson, president of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. “We had a much milder winter in 2013, which helped our numbers.”

The average sales price of a home in February was $122,703, up 6.4 percent from $115,363 last year. Of Shelby County’s 33 ZIP codes, 18 experienced an increase in sales activity and 22 had an increase in average sales price.

Total sales volume in February was $120.6 million, up 6 percent from $105.9 million in February 2013.

“We’re ahead on sales volume for the year, so we’ll take that heading into spring,” Glosson said.

The bursting of the housing bubble led to a steep decline in prices that lasted for several years, producing a market favorable to buyers who could qualify.

But Glosson said things are beginning to change and that a dwindling supply of homes is driving prices up, creating something of a sellers’ market.

“Inventory is the underlying issue,” Glosson said. “With prices increasing in many of the submarkets, the decline in inventory has turned it into more of a sellers market. Sellers who have maintained their properties well and have priced their homes competitively are many times finding themselves with multiple offers on their homes.”

Cordova North’s 38016 ZIP code led the way in sales, with 82 averaging 1,950 square feet and $119,856. Cordova South’s 38018 ZIP code was second, with 66 sales averaging 2,037 square feet and $137,670. Collierville’s 38017 ZIP code came in third, with 54 sales averaging 2,981 square feet and $296,073.

The county saw 937 existing homes sold for an average price of $116,178 and 46 new homes sold with an average price of $255,605 in February.

Bank, or foreclosure, sales continued their steady decline, dropping 7 percent to 200 with an average price of $71,326 in February. There were 783 nonbank sales recorded in February, with an average price of $135,826.

Real estate agents came into 2014 with high hopes after experiencing in 2013 the strongest year for sales since the onset of the recession. Shelby County posted a five-year high in home sales and average sales prices in 2013.

The county netted 15,892 home sales in 2013, up 6 percent from 14,936 homes sold in 2012. The average price in Shelby County jumped 11 percent in 2013 to $138,072, up from $123,870 in 2012.

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

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 38 349 15,066
MORTGAGES 111 449 19,779
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 33 91 3,886
BUILDING PERMITS 0 512 35,842
BANKRUPTCIES 62 309 14,343
BUSINESS LICENSES 18 138 5,129
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 69 385 21,817
MARRIAGE LICENSES 13 106 4,663

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