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VOL. 128 | NO. 179 | Friday, September 13, 2013

Shelby County Home Sales Trending Upward

By Amos Maki

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Shelby County home sales continued to gain momentum in August, with all key indicators posting double-digit percentage increases over the same month last year.

August home sales post significant gains over last year. Number of sales, average sales price and sales volume all showed improvement, according to Chandler Reports.

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

The county netted 1,709 home sales in August, up 15 percent from 1,483 sales in August 2012, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

The number of sales in August was up slightly from 1,695 in July.

Average home sales prices jumped 12 percent in August to $139,287, up from $124,726 in August 2012. And total sales volume for the month was $238 million, up 28 percent from $184.9 million a year ago.

Rising prices and interest rates have prompted owners to sell properties and encouraged potential buyers to take the plunge, according to local real estate officials.

“It’s much improved from the same time last year,” said Memphis Area Association of Realtors President Regina Hubbard. “We’re still seeing the consumers react in a more positive way toward the market, and it’s because interest rates are still attractive. Interest rates were at 2 percent and they weren’t going to stay there forever. That was really a once-in-a-lifetime situation. The rates have gone up, but they are still historically low.”

Inventory is getting tight, leading to a rise in prices. 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.

Potential buyers see the rising sales prices and interest rates as a sign to buy.

“You’ve got attractive prices and low interest rates,” said Doug Collins of Prudential Collins-Maury Inc. “Interest rates are still very low by historical standards, and even if they go up some, which I expect them to, they are still low. With the inventory shortage, it’s allowing housing prices to creep back up, so that’s helping people who are able to sell their houses without bringing money to the table feel more confident. It’s a great time to sell if you can.”

Of Shelby County’s 33 ZIP codes, 24 had an increase in overall sales activity in August and 27 ZIP codes had an increase in average sales prices.

Collierville’s 38017 ZIP code had the highest number of sales in August, with 106. The 38118 ZIP code of Oakhaven and Parkway Village was second, with 96 homes sold. Next was Arlington’s 38002 ZIP code with 92 sales.

Collierville led the way in sales volume at $32.6 million, while Germantown East’s 38139 ZIP code had the highest average sales price at $379,526.

Year to date, 11,012 homes have been sold in Shelby County, up 11 percent from 9,903 over the same period last year. Total sales volume through August was $1.5 billion, up 23 percent from $1.2 billion over the same period last year. The average sales price through August was $136,977, up 11 percent from $123,851 over the same period last year.

“We are still in a recovery, still an improving market,” Collins said. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”

There were 1,434 non-bank sales in August, up 32 percent from 1,086 in August 2012.

There were 275 bank, or foreclosure, sales in July, down 31 percent from 397 in August 2012. Year-to-date bank sales are down 20 percent from the same period last year.

“Because foreclosures are going down the prices are going up overall,” Hubbard said. “That makes it more attractive to people who want to sell and consumers are also feeling more positive about making an investment.”

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

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PROPERTY SALES 52 374 8,123
MORTGAGES 52 433 9,632
BUILDING PERMITS 218 906 17,513
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