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VOL. 129 | NO. 154 | Friday, August 8, 2014

Shelby County Mortgage Market Dips in July

By Andy Meek

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Kathee Villar, a loan officer with Community Mortgage Corp., has worked for the lender for 23 years, and when you’re in that kind of place for that length of time, certain patterns start to repeat themselves.

New figures show total mortgage volume in the county was down 10 percent in July compared to July 2013, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

That means, for Villar, repeat business is as almost pervasive as the rock-bottom interest rates these days that have a big impact on the mortgage market. She’s doing a loan right now for a pilot, for example, who she previously knew and who’s moved up as a homebuyer and now is buying a $300,000 home.

“We stay so busy, and I’ve locked in about four loans already this morning,” Villar said earlier this week.

That would appear to suggest an influx of buyers and new loans on the way, which is somewhat of a contrast to where the market ended up last month.

New figures show total mortgage volume in the county was down 10 percent in July compared to July 2013, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com. Data for this report did not include refinances.

Volume in the county during July dipped to a little more than $156 million from almost $174 million in July 2013. The number of mortgages made fell to 903 last month from 951 in July 2013, and the average mortgage amount dropped to $173,429 last month from $182,932 in July 2013.

Last month’s totals also were all down compared to the previous month. The number of mortgages fell from June to July (932 to 903). The average mortgage amount and total mortgage volume also both dropped from June, when they were $186,606 and almost $174 million, respectively.

The slower month notwithstanding, Villar’s employer still was among the top lenders for the month in terms of volume. Community Mortgage Corp. did almost $9.5 million in volume last month, putting it below only three other lenders in Shelby County – Magna Bank, Patriot Bank and Iberiabank.

“I’m seeing a lot of first-time buyers right now, which I love,” Villar said. “There’s a lot of activity, and for me, I’m also seeing a lot of repeat business.”

July’s drop in mortgages follows what’s been a related trend for much of the recent past. The mortgage totals have tended to track home sales, the latter of which through June were down 2 percent this year compared to the first half of 2013.

During that period, 7,460 homes were sold in Shelby County, down from 7,608 homes sold during the same timeframe in 2013.

At Chandler Reports’ recent 2014 Mid-Year Master Your Market seminar, West Tennessee Home Builders Association president Kim Grant Brown forecast that the rest of 2014 will be better for the housing market, and that what’s been behind some of the decreases so far this year is the weather.

There were a few gainers in July, though, among local banks or banks that have a local presence.

Iberiabank, for example, grew its volume for the month 23 percent, to almost $11 million last month compared with almost $9 million in July 2013. And Magna Bank grew its volume 55 percent to a little more than $11 million last month, compared with $7.1 million in July 2013.

Among a few other gainers, Independent Bank recorded a single mortgage in July 2013 for a volume of $316,000, according to the Chandler numbers. Last month, though, the bank’s volume was up to almost $2.7 million.

Patriot Bank’s volume was up 45 percent in July. Last month it recorded a little more than $11 million in volume, up from about $7.6 million in July 2013.

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

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