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VOL. 132 | NO. 73 | Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mortgage Market Grows 24 Percent in March

By Andy Meek

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Shelby County’s mortgage market closed out a busy first quarter with a 24 percent bump in purchase mortgage volume for the final month of the quarter, new figures show.

Purchase volume in March topped $162 million, up from $131 million during March 2016. That’s according to the latest figures from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

That uptick was in keeping with a busy first quarter for mortgages in general. Year to date through the end of March, volume stood at a little more than $379 million. That’s up from $321.7 million for the same period in 2016, a gain of 18 percent.

As for the rest of the month of March itself, the market also saw gains in the number of mortgages as well as in the average size of those mortgages.

From March 2016 to March 2017, the number of mortgages jumped from 781 to 944. And lenders are making bigger mortgages – last month, the average mortgage amount stood at $172,044, up from $167,779 during the same month in 2016.

Prospects for the market continue to look strong at the moment, according to Evolve Bank & Trust president and CEO Scott Stafford, who said his bank through the first quarter saw a significant uptick in new purchase money transactions in all its markets throughout the U.S.

“Approximately 80 percent of our mortgage business is now new purchase transactions,” Stafford said. “We expect this trend to continue through the balance of the year and don’t expect any material rate variations in the near term.”

BankTennessee mortgage loan officer Jessica Campbell focused on low rates that are expected to rise before the end of the year as a marker for what happens next.

“Rates have edged down, but we can’t take lower rates for granted,” Campbell said. “We have several customers refinancing due to rates still being low.

“Regarding the purchase market, our mortgage applications have increased for pre-qualifications, but the borrowers are having a difficult time finding a home due to limited availability of homes for sale. It’s definitely a seller’s market.”

Nevertheless, the numbers reflect a strong market for the month as well as for the quarter, starting 2017 off on a high note.

Looking at the first quarter, the number of mortgages and average mortgage amount are both above where they stood at this same point in 2016.

Year to date through the end of March, lenders had made 2,240 mortgages, up from 1,958 one year earlier. The average mortgage amount year to date stood at $169,300 at the end of March, up from $164,322 one year earlier.

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

PROPERTY SALES 157 157 10,093
MORTGAGES 161 161 11,107
BUILDING PERMITS 229 229 22,402
BANKRUPTCIES 54 54 6,365