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VOL. 129 | NO. 113 | Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Shelby County Mortgage Market Dips 2 Percent in May

By Andy Meek

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Sam Goff, a vice president of mortgage and senior loan originator with Independent Bank, said he’s “covered up” at the moment with requests for mortgage pre-qualifications.

Shelby County mortgage volume fell to a little more than $118 million last month from a little more than $121 million in May 2013.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

He estimates that if half of those requests result in a contract, he’ll probably have one of his biggest months in the last few years.

On the whole, the county’s mortgage market took a dip last month, but activity at Goff’s bank did not. That’s one reason he expects the local market to bounce higher from here.

New figures show total mortgage volume in the county was down 2 percent in May compared to May 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 May dipped to a little more than $118 million last month from a little more than $121 million in May 2013. The number of mortgages made fell to 685 last month from 750 in May 2013. But the average mortgage amount rose to $172,912 last month from $161,417 a year ago.

Last month’s total of 685 mortgages was basically flat compared to April’s 686 mortgages. However, both the average mortgage amount and total mortgage volume rose from April to May.

May’s average mortgage amount was up from $169,271 in April and a total volume of a little more than $116 million.

“I’ve got a couple in their 40s, and they’re downsizing; I’ve got another couple in their 30s, their current home’s not big enough, and they’re expecting another child,” Goff said. “It’s really running the gamut. I’ve got a 60-something-year old client who’s also downsizing. And I’ve got more people able to bring 20 percent down than I’ve seen before.”

At his bank, at least, Independent had a good month in May. Independent had a single mortgage recorded in May 2013, according to Chandler, which, one year later, had swelled to 15 mortgages with a volume topping $2.4 million.

“From my perspective, the market is starting to heat up,” Goff said. “We have more pre-qualification applications working right now than we’ve seen in a while. I’m getting a sense from folks that it’s just time. People have been sitting on the sidelines forever, and we have this huge reservoir. I get the sense that people are thinking, ‘The economy may not be great, but our personal situation’s all right, so let’s just go ahead and do this.’”

The market does have room to grow, if May’s totals are any indication.

As is the typical trend, Shelby County home sales went the same direction during the month as mortgage activity, though home sales had even more of a down month. Shelby County recorded 1,242 home sales in May, down 14 percent from the 1,446 homes sold in May 2013, according to Chandler Reports.

During his company’s first quarter earnings presentation to analysts a few weeks ago, Bryan Jordan, the chairman, president and CEO of First Tennessee Bank’s parent company First Horizon National Corp., said that although the economic recovery “remains slow and borrowers are still somewhat cautious, I’m encouraged by the first quarter’s improving loan pipeline.”

Banks around town, meanwhile, can be found to be adding to their mortgage capabilities and bench strength. Paragon Bank, for example, just appointed Wes Minton as a new mortgage loan consultant.

Paragon grew its mortgage volume 15 percent between the two May periods, from $782,000 to a little more than $900,000, according to Chandler.

Other local banks or banks with a local presence saw mortgage gains in May. Iberiabank grew its volume for the month 40 percent, topping $8 million last month, compared with almost $6 million in May 2013.

Metropolitan Bank grew its mortgage volume during the same period from almost $1.8 million to a little more than $3 million.

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

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