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VOL. 128 | NO. 26 | Thursday, February 7, 2013

January Home Sales Up 46 Percent

By Sarah Baker

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January home sales increased 46 percent from the same month last year, and pricing and new-home transactions improved year over year as well.

Shelby County recorded 1,344 home sales last month compared to the 921 sales during January 2012, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

It was also a 14 percent uptick from the 1,176 units sold in December.

Allen Green of John Green & Co. Realtors said depleting inventory levels are boding quite well for sellers. He said when a listing comes up in an area where there are not as many homes on the market, it’s selling fast.

“The interest rates are so low right now, so it’s a good time to buy, but what we’re finding out is the inventory levels are down, so there’s more competition for homes than there has been,” Green said. “There’s more buyers in the market now it seems like.”

Inventory levels being down are also reflected in price increases. The average sales price was 4 percent higher year over year at $114,120. Total sales volume jumped 52 percent to $153.4 million.

Chuck Seagle, manager of the new Forsythe Appraisals LLC Memphis office, said recent pricing trends point to the buyer and seller being on the same page.

“The average ratio of sales price to list price is 96.72 percent, indicating that homes are being priced properly as they are listed,” Seagle said.

Frayser’s 38127 ZIP code sold the most homes out of the county’s 34 ZIP codes, with 96 averaging $29,348 and totaling $2.8 million. Next was Raleigh’s 38128 with 85 sales averaging $48,896 and totaling $4.2 million.

But both of those areas also saw quite a few bank, or foreclosure, sales. There were 317 bank sales in January, a 12 percent improvement from the 283 last January. Southeast Shelby County had the most bank sales with 29 averaging $114,813 and totaling $3.3 million.

Additionally, the average price of bank sales also increased 13 percent to $72,438. Green said any spike in pricing is encouraging, even if it’s foreclosure property.

“The good thing is prices are going up, which helps sellers that may have been underwater before,” Green said.

Conversely, nonbank, or traditional sales, made up 76 percent of all sales last month. There were 1,027 nonbank sales, a 61 percent increase from January 2012. Nonbank sales averaged $126,985 and totaled $130.4 million.

Frayser led the county in nonbank sales, with 72 averaging $32,807 and totaling $2.4 million.

Meanwhile, new homes outperformed 2012’s totals as well. There were 71 new homes sold in January, a 20 percent jump from the 59 sold in 2012. New home sales averaged $247,094 and totaled $17.5 million.

Arlington’s 38002 and Collierville’s 38017 ZIPs tied for the most new home sales with 12 each.

Existing homes, of which there were 1,273 sales in January, increased 48 percent year over year. Existing home sales averaged $106,703 and totaled $135.8 million.

Again, Frayser and Raleigh saw the most existing home sales activity last month, with 96 and 85, respectively.

Seagle said there are many positive signs that the local market is “headed in the right direction.” Chief among them is the fact that both the foreclosure rate and the unemployment rate have dropped in the past year.

“Presently there are over 4,000 active listings in the Memphis MLS and in 2012 the average number of closed sales per month was about 1,250,” Seagle said. “The absorption rate has been about 3.5 months, and the average number of days on market is 96 and declining.”

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

PROPERTY SALES 98 172 17,556
MORTGAGES 101 194 20,229
BUILDING PERMITS 223 349 36,295
BANKRUPTCIES 52 115 11,279