Shelby County Home Sales Decline in October

By Amos Maki

(Daily News File Photo)

Shelby County home sales slowed slightly in October, with Realtors selling fewer homes compared to the same month last year, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports.

However, while overall home sales in Shelby County slowed, pricing remained strong, and 16 out of 33 ZIP codes in the county had an increase in overall sales activity for the month. In addition, year-to-date sales information point to a steady rebound for the industry.

The county netted 1,343 home sales in October, down 4 percent from 1,401 sold in October 2012, according to Chandler Reports,

However, average home sales prices in Shelby County jumped 17 percent in October to $143,447, up from $122,906 in October 2012, and total sales volume for the month was $192.6 million, up 12 percent from $172.1 million a year ago.

“Things are pretty good,” said Regina Hubbard, president of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. “Things are looking OK toward the end of the year.”

It has taken five years, but the Memphis-area market is finally recovering from the bursting of the housing bubble, with sales now returning to more stable, sustainable levels.

“We just came off some terrible, terrible historic lows,” said Doug Collins of Prudential Collins-Maury Inc. Realtors. “Compared to where we’ve been, everything has been positive.”

The housing market has been going through a much-needed correction, with rising prices and interest rates that are still historically low, inviting potential sellers and buyers into the market, Collins said.

Owners who are above water and have been considering selling are entering the market, while the number of homeowners who are underwater has helped keep a lid on inventory, producing a bump in sales prices.

“As prices increase, there are people who were underwater who are over water so they can sell,” Collins said. “And we have people who couldn’t buy over the last five years who can buy now, and with historically low interest rates, I think they’re correct.”

Cordova North’s 38016 ZIP code had the highest number of sales in October, with 103, according to Chandler Reports. The 38018 ZIP code of Cordova South was second, with 97 homes sold. Next was Collierville’s 38017 ZIP code with 82 sales.

Collierville led the way in sales volume in October at $23.2 million, while Germantown East’s 38139 ZIP code had the highest average sales price at $486,300.

There were 1,099 non-bank sales in October, up 1 percent from 1,087 in October 2012.

There were 244 bank, or foreclosure, sales in October, down 22 percent from 314 in October 2012.

There were 1,265 existing homes sold in October, down 4 percent from 1,313 existing homes sold last October. The average sales price for an existing home in October was $135,819, up 19 percent from $113,990 last October.

Realtors sold 78 new homes in October, down 11 percent from 88 new homes sold last October. The average sales price for a new home in October was $267,152, up 4 percent from $255,943 in October 2012.

The strength of the housing market recovery in Shelby County is evident in the year-to-date numbers, with noticeable increases in number of sales, average sales price and total sales volume.

Through October, 13,636 homes have been sold in Shelby County, up 8 percent from 12,577 over the same period last year, according to Chandler Reports. Total sales volume through October was $1.88 billion, up 20 percent from $1.56 billion over the same period last year. The average sales price year to date through October was $137,937, up 11 percent from $124,151 over the same period last year.

“Over the last year we have made good improvement, and we’re still in a healthy position,” Hubbard said. “I know we’re going to finish our year on a positive note.”

The numbers through October resemble pre-bubble numbers and signal a healthier, more organic market, Collins said.

“I like the slow, steady growth,” he said. “I’d rather leave the run-up and run-down to the stock market and have a consistent housing market.”