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VOL. 128 | NO. 10 | Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mortgage Gains Point to Solid 2013

By Andy Meek

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Shelby County’s mortgage market made decent strides during the past 12 months, posting gains over 2011 and foreshadowing a healthy 2013.

Banks and mortgage lenders made 8,028 purchase mortgages in Shelby County during 2012, a 17 percent improvement from the 6,862 mortgages during 2011, according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

Data for this report included purchase mortgages only, not refinances.

Mortgages averaged $154,281 in 2012, a 4.4 percent increase from $147,777 in 2011, and the total volume of $1.24 billion marked a 22 percent spike from $1.01 billion in 2011.

The three largest banks based in Memphis – First Tennessee Bank, Independent Bank and Magna Bank – also saw the same trend. They all finished 2012 with increases in residential purchase mortgage activity for the year compared to 2011.

First Tennessee was up 14 percent (from 78 mortgages in 2011 to 89 in 2012), Independent Bank was up 143 percent (14 to 34) and Magna was up 25 percent (491 to 615), according to the Chandler numbers.

“The rate environment is still very favorable,” said David Umsted, vice president with Merchants and Planters Bank Home Loans. “And it’s allowed many people to purchase homes with lower payments or lower terms, such as a 15- or 10-year loan, that they may not otherwise be able to take advantage of in a 6 percent to 8 percent mortgage rate environment.”

Umsted said Merchants and Planters’ mortgage division saw strong mortgage loan demand in 2012. Its loan volume in Shelby County was up 55 percent from 2011, with 56 percent of that amount comprised of purchase loans.

He also said his bank ended the year with December being its second largest month in 2012 in terms of mortgage volume.

That same trend, meanwhile, reflected more mixed results among some of the largest national banks and lenders that operate in Memphis.

From 2011 to 2012, for example, Regions was up 13 percent (320 mortgages in 2011 to 361 in 2012), according to the Chandler numbers, while Bank of America was down 27 percent (131 to 96). Wells Fargo was down 3 percent (387 to 374), although Wells grew its total mortgage volume from $64.5 million to almost $75 million.

Community Mortgage Corp. led the lender list for all of 2012 in terms of both purchase mortgage totals and dollar volume, with 848 mortgages that had an average amount of $159,939 and totaled almost $136 million.

Magna Bank followed, with 615 mortgages totaling $115.3 million. Next up was Wells Fargo (374 mortgages totaling almost $75 million) and Patriot Bank (397 mortgages totaling almost $75 million).

On the national level, mortgage applications are on the rise. Mortgage applications increased 11.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Jan. 4.

“We’re extremely busy,” said Teresa Beach, a mortgage loan originator with Commercial Bank and Trust. “We’re seeing an all-time high in our pipeline, and I believe we’ll be busy all of this year too.”

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

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PROPERTY SALES 92 280 9,849
MORTGAGES 105 287 11,601
BUILDING PERMITS 247 575 20,885
BANKRUPTCIES 44 163 6,600

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