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VOL. 129 | NO. 28 | Tuesday, February 11, 2014

January Home Sales Mirror Temperature

By Amos Maki

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Shelby County home sales plummeted with the temperatures in January, as sales declined 18 percent compared to January 2013, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

Temperatures took a plunge in January and home sales followed suit. Realtors sold 1,101 homes in Shelby County last month, down 18 percent from 1,338 in January 2013.

(Daily News File Photo)

Realtors sold 1,101 homes in Shelby County in January, an 18 percent drop from 1,338 in the same month a year ago. The January total also marks a 3 percent decrease from 1,143 homes sold in December.

Real estate agents said January’s bitterly cold weather led to the drop, but they expect the numbers to rebound as temperatures rise in the spring. The average temperature for Memphis in January was 36.1 degrees, 5.1 degrees below average and the coldest January on record since the 1980s.

“I think the biggest culprit is the weather and that February will be a repeat of January,” said Doug Collins of Coldwell Banker Collins-Maury. “I expect a very active spring market with agents complaining about low inventories.”

Overall, only six of the county’s 33 ZIP codes showed an increase in sales activity for the month.

“Most people don’t want to be out in this weather right now, especially tracing through houses that may not have power right now,” said Greg Glosson, president of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors and a broker at Fast Track Realty.

While sales dipped considerably in January, pricing remained strong thanks to tight inventory. The average sales price for a home in January was $135,767, up 19 percent from $114,348 in January 2013.

“I think it’s just a natural reaction the market has when inventory drops,” Glosson said. “Bank inventory is down and we had a pretty strong summer and fall, which reduced inventory. As the inventory has come down a bit, it’s been a win for sellers because it has forced values up.”

Total sales volume for January was $149.4 million, down from $152.9 million in January 2013. Overall, 20 of the county’s 33 ZIP codes experienced an increase in average sales price.

Bank, or foreclosure, sales experienced a massive drop. There were only 186 bank sales recorded in January, down 41 percent from 317 in January 2013. The average sales price for a bank sale was $75,083, up from $72,348 in January 2013.

There were 915 nonbank sales in January, down from 1,021 in January 2013. The average price for a nonbank sale in Shelby County in January was $148,102, up from $127,360 in January 2013.

Collierville’s 38017 ZIP code led the way last month, with 69 sales averaging $308,283 and 2,992 square feet. Cordova North’s 38016 ZIP code came in second with 68 sales averaging $153,289 and 2,385 square feet. Cordova South’s 38018 ZIP code came in third with 66 sales averaging $144,724 and 2,061 square feet.

There were 1,035 existing homes sold in Shelby County in January, down 18 percent from 1,263 existing homes sold in January 2013. The average sales price for an existing home in January was $125,643, up 18 percent from $106,643 in January 2013.

There were 66 new homes sold in January, down 12 percent from 75 new homes sold in January 2013. The average sales price for a new home in January was $248,513, up 18 percent from $210,000 in January 2013.

Realtors are entering 2014 after experiencing in 2013 the strongest year for sales since the housing bubble burst and the onset of the recession. Shelby County posted a five-year high in home sales and average sales prices in 2013.

The county netted 15,892 home sales in 2013, up 6 percent from 14,936 homes sold in 2012. The average price in Shelby County jumped 11 percent in 2013 to $138,072, up from $123,870 in 2012.

“Locally, the market is fundamentally strong, and as we approach the more traditionally strong times of the year, I think rising values make it a perfect time for sellers to get in the market, and with rates still historically low, it’s a great time for buyers as well,” Glosson said.

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

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