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VOL. 8 | NO. 19 | Saturday, May 2, 2015

Real Estate Industry Emerges From Frigid Winter With High Hopes

By Amos Maki

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Overall home sales in Shelby County were essentially flat in the first quarter while homebuilding activity increased, despite arctic temperatures in February and March that could have put the residential real estate sector in the deep freeze.

That caused real estate professionals to feel optimistic about the rest of the year, especially as the peak home selling season begins in earnest.

“It is improving for sure,” said David Goodwin Jr., owner of David Goodwin Jr. Cos. LLC and 2015 president of the West Tennessee Home Builders Association.

“Memphis, for a lot of other reasons was sluggish in taking off just like other parts of the country were, but it’s started to take off.”

Shelby County recorded 3,235 home sales in the first quarter, down just 1.2 percent from 3,273 sales in the same three-month period last year, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

Steve Young, broker with Keller Williams Realty Group, said there were several factors for first-quarter home sales being flat. For instance, Young said there are still a lot of people in the “recovery” stage from the recession, still repairing their credit while others could be “once bitten, twice shy” when it comes to getting back into home buying after witnessing the housing crash and recession.

However, the average sales price in Shelby County jumped above last year’s totals, pointing to tightening inventory and steady demand. The average sales price in the first quarter was $144,491, up 7.9 percent from $133,853 a year ago.

“The tightening of inventory is certainly a factor in price movement, especially if you look at the ZIP codes with the greatest improvement in price,” said Young.

The average size of a home sold in the first quarter was 1,552 square feet, compared to 1,447 square feet a year ago.

Collierville’s 38017 ZIP code recorded the most sales in Shelby County, with 225 averaging 2,997 square feet and $303,353. Arlington’s 38002 ZIP code recorded 203 sales averaging 2,675 square feet and $244,819. Cordova-North’s 38016 ZIP code netted 201 sales averaging 2,092 square feet and $147,173.

Bank, or foreclosure, sales continued to plummet in the first quarter.

Shelby County recorded 475 bank sales in the first three months of the year, down 24 percent from 528 bank sales over the same period last year.

There were 2,759 non-bank sales recorded in Shelby County, up 4 percent from 2,644 a year ago. The average price of a non-bank sale was $155,538, up 5 percent from $148,668 a year ago.

There were 3,078 existing homes sold in the quarter, down slightly from 3,099 a year ago. The average price of an existing home was $138,597, up 10 percent from $126,245 last year.

Homebuilding activity improved slightly from last year, with builders filing more permits and selling more homes than the same period last year.

The top builder, as tracked by permits, was Regency Homebuilders LLC, which recorded 39 permits. Kevin Hyneman pulled 21 permits and Global Leader pulled 15.

Arlington led the way in sales, with 44 averaging 3,571 square feet and $297,164. Cordova-South netted 33 sales averaging 2,196 square feet and $153,876. Collierville recorded 23 home sales averaging 3,453 square feet and $397,279.

The top builder, as tracked by sales, was Regency, with 41 sales averaging 2,947 square feet and $258,212. Kevin Hyneman sold 18 homes averaging 2,096 square feet and $151,770. Grant Homes recorded 12 sales averaging 2,985 square feet and $261,586.

“People are starting to realize home values are going up, construction costs are going up, so people think they better get on board now and that’s very true in today’s market,” said Goodwin.

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