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VOL. 129 | NO. 239 | Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shelby County Home Sales Slow in November

By Amos Maki

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After an unusually strong October for home sales, activity in Shelby County cooled in November.

After experiencing a strong October, Shelby County home sales dropped in November. Shelby County recorded 1,034 sales in November, down from 1,115 last year.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

Memphis and Shelby County home sales were down 7.8 percent in November, with 1,034 sales recorded for the month, compared with 1,115 recorded in November 2013, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

November sales were down 30 percent from 1,479 homes sold in October.

But the slowdown isn’t setting off alarm bells with real estate professionals.

“I think the numbers are still reflecting we have improvement, like in bank sales, and the average sales price in the vast majority of our ZIP codes are increasing,” said Thomas Murphree, principal broker with Birch Tree Realty Resources Inc. “With interest rates as low as they are, it’s still a fantastic time to buy or sell a house, and I wish more people would take advantage of that.

“I see short marketing times on a lot of properties that are move-in ready and it doesn’t really matter where they’re at.”

The average sales prices of a Shelby County home dropped 2 percent to $138,389, compared with $140,616 in November 2013. Total revenue for the month was $143 million, down 9 percent from $157 million during the same month last year.

While the overall number of sales was down in November, real estate officials point out that activity usually cools off late in the year, the market fundamentals remain strong, interest rates are still low, foreclosure sales continue to decline and home sales are still above 2011 and 2012.

Steve Brown, general manager for Crye-Leike Realtors Inc.’s Memphis region, said the company closed November with $104.5 million in volume, which was down less than 1 percent from last year.

“Nothing really jumps out to explain the slowdown,” Brown said.

“I suspect that Memphis may be feeling the slowdown that bigger markets had earlier in the year,” he said. “The good news is that they are now beginning to come back up so hopefully our early spring will begin to bounce back.”

Out of Shelby County’s 33 ZIP codes, 13 had an increase in overall sales activity and 23 ZIP codes had an increase in average sales price.

Arlington, Bartlett and Lakeland all had an increase in sales activity for the month while Collierville, Germantown, Millington, Memphis and unincorporated areas of the county all had decreases from last November.

Shelby County recorded 886 non-bank sales in November, down 5 percent from 928 during the same period last year.

Arlington’s 38002 ZIP code recorded the highest number of sales, with 75 averaging $211,715 and 2,383 square feet. Collierville’s 38017 ZIP code came in second, with 74 sales averaging $314,088 and 3,022 square feet. The 38018 ZIP code of Cordova South was third, with 60 sales averaging $136,608 and 1,989 square feet.

Bank, or foreclosure, sales continued to decline and were down 21 percent for the month, with 148 recorded compared with 187 recorded last year.

The Oakhaven/Parkway Village ZIP code of 38118 recorded the highest number of bank sales, with 14 averaging $52,020 and 1,377 square feet. The Hickory Hill South ZIP code of 38141 recorded the second-highest number of bank sales, with 13 averaging $88,620 and 1,683 square feet. Three other ZIP codes recorded 10 bank sales in November.

Through November, 2,030 bank sales were recorded in Shelby County, down 28 percent from 2,812 over the same 11-month period last year.

Steve Young, a broker with Keller Williams Realty, said the decline in overall sales through November could be attributed to slow economic growth and the steep decline in bank sales. While unemployment has dipped in the Memphis area, it remains above state and federal levels.

“As you know, jobs and confidence in the local economy have a lot to do with home sales,” Young said. “Although the decrease in bank sales is a positive thing for overall home values, the 28 percent year-to-date decrease is telling in the overall numbers.”

A majority of homes sold in Shelby County in November – 51 percent – sold for less than $100,000.

“What troubles me is that we are seeing the number of homes sold under $100,000 begin to creep up again,” he said. “We were seeing a downward trend in sales under $100,000 and some positive momentum in the upper end. That stagnation is something we have to watch.”

The average price for a non-bank sale in November was $150,044, down 3 percent from $155,401 last year.

Collierville’s 38017 ZIP code topped the list in non-bank sales, with 73 sales averaging $317,035. Arlington’s 38002 ZIP code came in second, with 69 non-bank sales averaging $215,341. Cordova South’s 38018 ZIP code netted 60 non-bank sales averaging $136,608.

Through November, home sales in the county remain off last year’s pace.

There were 14,268 homes sold in Shelby County through November, down 3 percent from 14,753 during the same period last year. Though the number of homes sold year to date is down from 2013, it is up from 2012 and 2011, when 13,757 and 11,720 homes were sold through November.

While the number of sales through November is down, pricing remains strong. The average sales price of a home through November was $146,164, up 6 percent from $138,189 over the same period last year.

“Overall, I still feel pretty good about where we are,” Young said.

“I haven't forgotten what things were like back in 2010 when we had just a little over 800 sales in November,” he said. ”That was scary.”

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

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396