Shelby County Home Sales Rise 10 Percent in October

By Amos Maki

Home sales activity in Memphis and Shelby County certainly wasn’t spooky in October, with sales up 10 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

Memphis and Shelby County recorded 1,479 homes sales, up 10 percent from 1,343 in October 2013, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, The 1,479 homes sold in October is down 4 percent from 1,543 in September.

Average home sales prices for the month dropped compared to last year, but the overall rise in the number of sales helped boost total revenue, according to Chandler Reports.

The average sales price in October 2014 was $139,091, down 3 percent from $143,784 last year. Total revenue for the month was $206 million, up 7 percent from $193 million in October 2013.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

Of the 33 ZIP codes in Shelby County, 20 had an increase in overall sales activity for the month and 21 ZIPs had increases in average sales prices.

Every municipality in the county had an increase in home sales activity except for Germantown, where sales were down 6 percent from last year. Arlington, Bartlett, Millington and the city of Memphis all saw increases of more than 10 percent in sales activity from October 2013.

“Typically we don’t see an upswing in October, but I think this is just a sign that the market is curing,” said Thomas Murphree, principal broker with Birch Tree Realty Resources Inc. “She’s not on fire right now but we have a lot of smoke.”

Cordova North’s 38016 ZIP code recorded the highest number of sales in October, with 125 averaging $132,823. The Cordova South ZIP code of 38018 recorded 108 sales averaging $160,838, and Arlington’s 38002 ZIP code recorded 102 sales averaging $224,826.

Year-to-date home sales in the county are down, but average sale price and total revenue are up from the same period last year.

Through October, 13,236 sales have been recorded in Shelby County, down 3 percent from 13,637 over the same period last year. The average sales price through October was $416,831, up 6 percent from $137,978 last year.

While the number of sales through the first 10 months of 2014 are down slightly from the same period last year, they are up from 2012 and 2011, when 12,574 and 10,697 homes were sold respectively.

“I think what makes the numbers for this October ever more impressive is that we were coming off of 2013 and 2012 numbers that had been pretty good, as well,” said Steve Young, broker with Keller Williams Realty Inc. “Tacking the three-year run rate on growth is pretty strong.”

Bank, or foreclosure, sales continue to decline and were down 23 percent for the month, with 186 recorded in October compared to 242 last year.

Raleigh’s 38128 ZIP code recorded the highest number of bank sales, with 18 averaging $48,801. Frayser’s 38127 ZIP code recorded 15 bank sales.

The steep decline in bank sales is a sign that Memphis and Shelby County are wading out of the foreclosure deluge that followed the housing crash and that neighborhoods and values in some areas could rebound, Murphree said.

“We know foreclosures have not only an impact on the value but on activity in the market, so that’s an overall sign of the stabilization of the market,” he said. “When people start seeing foreclosures go up, they start getting very nervous, and when the mood is nervous people don’t want to spend money and want to stay where they are, so we’re removing some of the stigma of a foreclosure market.”

The county recorded 1,293 non-bank sales in October, up 17 percent from 1,101 in October 2013.

The Cordova North ZIP code of 38016 recorded the highest number of non-bank sales for the month, with 114 averaging $136,255. The Cordova South ZIP code of 38018 recorded 106 non-bank sales in October.

Through October, bank sales were down 28 percent while non-bank sales were up 3 percent compared to the same 10-month period last year, according to Chandler Reports.

In October, 71 new homes were sold, down 12 percent from 81 a year ago. The new homes sold in October averaged $166,597 and 2,906 square feet. Year to date, 678 new homes have been sold, down 5 percent from 717 over the same period last year.

In October, 1,408 existing homes were sold, up 12 percent from 1,262 sales a year ago. Through October, 12,558 existing homes were sold in Shelby County, down 3 percent from 12,920 sales over the same period last year.

Looking ahead, Young said he likes the activity he’s seeing in the market right now.

“I believe we still have really strong demand going into the last two months of the year,” said Young. “Our activity for the first week of November has been very good.”

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