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VOL. 124 | NO. 17 | Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Re/Max Offices to Close by Sunday

By Eric Smith

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The realty offices of Re/Max on the River and Re/Max at Mallard Creek will close Sunday, further proof that the slumping real estate market continues to claim casualties.

Carol Lott, broker-owner of Re/Max on the River, Monday confirmed the closures. She co-owns that office with Stan Holmes, who is the owner-broker of Re/Max at Mallard Creek.

Re/Max on the River is at 500 S. Main St. and employs about 12 agents, Lott said, while Re/Max at Mallard Creek has two offices – one at 8195 New Dexter Road in Cordova and one at 7556 U.S. 70 (Summer Ave.) in Bartlett – with nearly 30 agents.

Both branches are affiliated with Denver-based Re/Max International Inc., which Lott said ordered the office closures.

“We didn’t want to close; it was a Re/Max-forced decision,” Lott said.

Lott added that she and Holmes and most of their agents would reconfigure as another realty company, but she said she wouldn’t have details until later in the week except that the new entity would retain a presence on South Main Street.

“We’re not leaving Downtown. We love Downtown,” Lott said. “Neither Stan nor I are getting out of the business. We’re just going to do something different. We still believe in Memphis and we still believe in Memphis real estate.”

Holmes did not immediately return a phone call.

Re/Max International has about 10 offices in the Memphis area, each of them independently owned and operated, according to its Web site. Other branches include Re/Max on Track in Germantown; Re/Max Right Way in Millington; Re/Max Premier in Atoka; Re/Max Elite in Collierville; and Re/Max Associates in Oakland.

In DeSoto County, Amy Clay serves as managing broker of the Re/Max Advantage offices in Southaven and Hernando. Clay, who said she “hated to hear” about the two Memphis office closings, confirmed that her branches were “going strong” and would not close.

“Things are good right now,” said Clay, adding, “We never hit the bottom like the national market did, so we’re not comparable like the markets in Miami and Las Vegas, those type things.”

Memphis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR) executive vice president Jules Wade declined comment on the matter Monday because he hadn’t spoken with Holmes, nor had he received any official notification about the closures.

Sluggish home sales, which declined 21 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, have taken a toll on the real estate profession. MAAR membership reached a nearly four-year low this month with just 4,411 members, the lowest monthly total since 4,366 members in March 2005.

The 2008 year-end mark of 4,599 members represented a 12 percent decline from the 5,231 members on the roll in December 2007, while the average monthly membership in the state’s largest real estate trade association was 4,854 in 2008, down 8 percent from 5,266 in 2007.

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PROPERTY SALES 87 87 7,836
MORTGAGES 108 108 9,307
BUILDING PERMITS 130 130 16,737
BANKRUPTCIES 55 55 5,461

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