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VOL. 127 | NO. 213 | Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rise of House Flipping Focus Of Seminar

By Sarah Baker

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The impact of the foreclosure crisis on Shelby County home values is intricate and far-reaching.

Recent estimates by real estate information company Chandler Reports suggest that nearly a quarter of Memphis’ total housing stock are non-owner occupied.

That’s due in large part to investment firms snatching up single-family real estate-owned (REO) properties, renovating and renting them, and then selling them to other investors – many of whom buy sight unseen.

And while it’s a nationwide phenomenon, this “house flipping” is seen as especially opportunistic in Memphis, where median asking prices are lower than average and vacancies are widespread.

“Those investor clubs were making the point that they’re good for neighborhoods,” said Dr. Phyllis Betts, founding director of the University of Memphis’ Center for Community Building & Neighborhood Action. “It depends upon who the investors are and the neighborhood.”

Industry professionals will get a glimpse of issues like these when Chandler Reports hosts its third quarter “Master Your Market” Thursday, Nov. 8. The event will be held from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Great Hall of Germantown’s Media Room, 1900 S. Germantown Road, behind City Hall next to the tennis courts.

The presentation will include an update on residential and commercial sales, foreclosures, new housing and builder activity, and trends in lending and mortgage analysis.

Betts will share her department’s latest study on lending activity in Shelby County with an analysis of loan activity from 2004-2010, showing how foreclosures and investor purchases have impacted neighborhood quality of life and property values.

“The question I’m trying to address is investment activity good for neighborhoods?” Betts said. “And that’s the overall transition to the rental market. I’ll be using data to demonstrate that shift in particular neighborhoods.”

For those in the real estate community pondering the question of whether or not outside investor activity is good for neighborhood stabilization, Betts said there is no black and white answer.

“It’s kind of an open question, but I do think this (presentation) will give them a lot of food for thought,” Betts said.

In addition, Betts’ department has been working with the Shelby County Department of Planning and Development and the Greater Memphis Chamber to evaluate property conditions and create an asset inventory for the area branded “Airport City,” surrounding the Memphis International Airport.

The case study involved going into the neighborhoods that are considered the core of the area – the Mendenhall Estates, Fox Meadows area – and doing a problem property survey.

“We’re able to look at the condition of foreclosed properties that were bought by investors compared to those that were bought by owner-occupants,” Betts said. “What happens to the properties that are acquired by investors in the short run at least, in terms of property upkeep, etc.”

Following Betts’ address to the group, the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions. After the event, Chandler Reports will host a small reception for guests to network with the guest speakers and their peers.

The cost to attend is $10 for Chandler Reports subscribers and $15 for non-subscribers. Cost includes an electronic copy of the presentation along with copies of Chandler Reports’ most popular trend reports.

Anyone interested in attending can visit www.chandlerreports.com or contact Wendy Greenlaw, Chandler Reports business development manager, at 528-5273 or wendy@chandlerreports.com.

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

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