VOL. 118 | NO. 112 | Thursday, June 24, 2004
Low Rates Push More Newlyweds to Buy
Summer real estate market characterized by younger buyers
The Daily News
With springtime turning to summer, it means busy season for
the wedding industry.
According to The Daily News Public Records Database, www.memphisdailynews.com,
more marriage licenses are filed in the months of May and June than at any
other time of year, meaning wedding planners and related retailers are busy
right now. But the trend affects more than wedding-related businesses the real
estate industry also is affected by the areas number of newlyweds.
Buying, not renting. Realtors welcome business from
newlyweds, especially now, with low mortgage interest rates driving more young
buyers into the housing market.
I have seen a number of newly married people that were
buying their first home after just being married, or right before they get
married, said Grace Uhlhorn, an associate broker
with ERA Chamberwood.
If newlyweds are buying homes, more than likely, theyre
young buyers. Of the 6,724 brides who filed for marriage licenses between June
1, 2003, and May 31, 2004, 3,099 were between the ages of 20 and 29. Another
1,826 were between 30 and 39.
And these couples are realizing that low mortgage interest
rates mean buying a home makes more sense than renting an apartment.
Once they get married, there are two incomes in the family,
and if theyve both had an apartment, they start looking at how much the bills
were, said Bebe McWaters
of McWaters & Associates. To buy a house with
interest rates still low, I think they can have a home and enjoy owning a home
for less than they can rent an apartment. Of course, they cant buy a mansion
at first. They need a starter home.
Looking to the suburbs. And
many of those starter homes if couples are looking for new construction are
in the Cordova area. The 38016 ZIP code contained the second-highest number of marriage
license filings last year at 159.
Young couples are still looking to suburban communities for
a first home. But that scenario usually depends on family planning. For couples
looking to have children soon, finding a home near good schools is almost
always a major factor.
It also helps that couples can get more bang for their buck
in the suburbs.
The attraction Cordova has is there are so many brand new
homes, you can get a lot of house for your money, Uhlhorn
said. Its very attractive to have everything brand new, something that nobody
else has lived in.
New options Downtown. But
not everyone wants to live on the outskirts of town. Downtown living is an
increasing trend nationwide, including in Memphis. But to follow that trend in Memphis,
buyers often must be willing to pay a steeper price than what can be found out East
or in Midtown.
I think they would like to be Downtown, but its cost-prohibitive,
so they want to be close to Downtown, Uhlhorn said,
adding that areas such as Cooper-Young and High Point Terrace remain hot for
newlyweds. I work a lot in Germantown, but for the most part, theyre not
interested in this area. Maybe if they had small children.
With its increasing entertainment options not to mention
jobs Downtown has become a desirable location for many residents.
First-time reality. But
young couples often have to make sacrifices.
Theyd love to buy a brand new, cool house on the river,
but they cant afford that, so they have to learn to compromise and really evaluate
what they want, Uhlhorn said.
McWaters said many young buyers
are still looking inside the Interstate 240 loop, particularly in East Memphis.
High Point Terrace is hot, hot, hot, she said. That area,
you put something on the market and its gone. There is really a demand for
homes in all of that area, and I think theyre selling
Savvy shoppers. Young
buyers seem to be doing their homework more than buyers once did.
Years ago when I was showing people, they just had to be
led, McWaters said. And now, the young people know
how to do the magical things on the computer. They call us and say, Weve seen
this and this and this and this, and we want to go see them.
Theyre pulling things off the Web and they know so much
more than people used to. I think we have the computers to thank for that.
It seems like they are (more knowledgeable) because of the
Internet, she said. They can get on and see not only what is available, but
take little mini-courses on what constitutes a good mortgage and what are some
things to look out for. They are more savvy than they
used to be.