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VOL. 131 | NO. 160 | Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mortgage Market Up 5 Percent in July

By Andy Meek

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The month of July heralded the same story for Shelby County’s mortgage market that’s been unfolding for a while now, and especially since the beginning of the year.

A combination of continued low rates, an improving local economy and buyers who feel better about their futures led to a 5 percent gain in purchase mortgage volume for July. That’s according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

Kicking off the first month of the third quarter, Shelby County saw a little more than $205 million in purchase volume in July, up from a little more than $196 million during July 2015.

Last month’s total volume was a small comedown from the total seen in June – almost $214 million – and fewer mortgages were made last month year on year (1,020, compared to 1,093 in July 2015). But there were still other signs of strength in the market, such as the fact that year over year and from June to July, buyers have been taking out bigger mortgages.

From July 2015 to July 2016, the average mortgage amount climbed from $179,560 to $201,276.

“We’ve had a very strong 2016,” said Todd Brown, area manager and senior mortgage consultant for Mortgage Investors Group. “We’ve hired one new originator since last year and are probably up 10 percent year over year. The bulk of it’s still purchase business, but we’re also starting to pick up some refinances, with rates dipping within the last month.”

Practically every month so far in 2016 has seen lenders offer slight variations on those same themes. And it’s a trend that’s not just confined to the individual months themselves.

Between Jan. 1 and July 31, Shelby County’s mortgage market, on a purchase volume basis, is also outpacing where it stood over the same six-month period in 2015. Year to date through the end of July, purchase mortgage volume stood at a little more than $1 billion, up 12 percent from the $955.9 million the market had recorded over the same period last year.

Mike Edwards, president and chief operating officer at Paragon Bank, said his bank’s mortgage pipeline is the highest it’s been in a few years. The business split there is about 60 percent purchase and 40 percent refinances, he said, “led by a still reasonably good real estate market in this area.”

Year to date, compared to the same period in 2015, more mortgages are being made in Shelby County – and the price of those mortgages is rising. From Jan. 1 through July 31, there were 5,960 mortgages made in Shelby County, up from 5,430 during the same period in 2015 – an increase of 10 percent.

The average mortgage amount also ticked up over that same period, albeit incrementally. From Jan. 1 through July 31, the average mortgage amount stood at $180,298, up from $176,040 a year ago.

The figures are a local reflection of a trend seen nationally in recent weeks. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, Americans in June bought new homes at the fastest pace in more than eight years.

New-home sales, according to the department’s figures, rose 3.5 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 592,000, which represented the best level since February 2008.

PROPERTY SALES 40 220 16,417
MORTGAGES 28 85 10,172
BUILDING PERMITS 161 826 39,370
BANKRUPTCIES 29 136 7,733