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VOL. 129 | NO. 112 | Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Shelby County Home Sales Down, Prices Up in May

By Amos Maki

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Shelby County experienced a drop in home sales in May compared to the same month last year and also from April.

However, prices continued their upward surge last month as the supply of available homes continued to dwindle.

Shelby County experienced a drop in home sales in May, but prices did continue an upward surge.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

Shelby County recorded 1,242 home sales in May, down 14 percent from 1,446 homes sold in May 2013, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com. The 1,242 homes sold in May were down 8.4 percent from the 1,356 homes sold in April.

Local real estate practitioners said a host of factors contributed to the lower-than-expected sales numbers.

“Fewer bank sales, lower consumer confidence, more part-time jobs versus full-time employment, stiffer underwriting and appraisals,” said Steve Brown, Crye-Leike Memphis general manager and executive vice president.

Brown said a “very small percentage” in the drop in sales could be attributed to the wet weather that hung over the Mid-South in May.

But as inventory levels have tightened and bank sales have decreased, prices have been on an upward march. The average sales price for a home in May was $147,593, up 9 percent from an average of $135,816 in May 2013.

“We will continue to see the average price rise as the low bank sales prices are less and less of the total and shortage of inventory gives sellers the upper hand on concessions and price,” Brown said.

The majority of Shelby County’s 33 ZIP codes had a decline is sales activity – Collierville, Germantown and Millington were among the few with increases in sales from last year. But 23 ZIP codes in the county had an increase in average sales prices. Year to date, overall home sales are down 5 percent but average sales prices are up 10 percent compared to the first five months of 2013.

“Very simply, the local housing market is based on supply and demand,” said Greg Glosson, president of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. “As supply decreases, prices increase. Sellers have responded to the decrease in inventory by asking higher initial list prices for their homes. Many buyers are finding it necessary to make full price offers on homes that are well maintained and in areas where inventory is in short supply. I believe that most would agree we have moved from a buyer’s market to more of a seller’s market.”

Collierville’s 38017 ZIP code had the heaviest sales activity, with 83 sales averaging $305,600 and 2,840 square feet. Cordova North’s 38016 had the second highest amount of sales activity with 76 sales averaging $137,152. Cordova South’s 38018 ZIP code recorded 71 sales averaging $154,280 and 2,168 square feet. The 38117 ZIP code in East Memphis also netted 71 sales, averaging $217,310 and 2,102 square feet.

The large decline in bank sales activity continued in May, driving down overall sales totals and increasing average sales prices across the county.

There were 158 bank, or foreclosure, sales in Shelby County in May, down 43 percent from 278 bank sales last May and down from 230 bank sales in April 2014. The average price of a bank sale was $73,481, down 1 percent from $73,878 in May 2013. Raleigh led the way in bank sales with 12 averaging $52,300. Frayser recorded 10 bank sales with an average sales price of $14,896.

“As long as bank sales continue to dwindle, we will continue to see lower unit sales numbers compared to previous years when they comprised a bigger share of the total,” Brown said.

Shelby County recorded 1,084 nonbank sales in May, with an average of $158,808, down 7 percent from 1,168 nonbank sales in May 2013.

Realtors sold 1,192 existing homes in May, down 13 percent from 1,373 existing homes sold in May 2013. The average price of an existing home in May was $142,473, up 10 percent from 1,373 existing homes in May 2013.

There were 50 new homes sold in May, down 32 percent from 72 new homes sold in May 2013. The average price of a new home in May was $278,601, up 9 percent from $254,878 in May 2013.

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

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