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VOL. 132 | NO. 93 | Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shelby County Mortgage Market Slips Slightly in April

By Andy Meek

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Shelby County’s mortgage market kicked off the second quarter in April by slipping a little on a total volume basis, although the market is still looking better year-to-date than it did at this time last year.

Shelby County’s mortgage market dropped slightly in April, though year-to-date figures are still higher compared to the same point in 2016 and lenders are still finding plenty of reasons for optimism. 

(Houston Cofield)

That’s according to new figures from real estate information company Chandler Reports, chandlerreports.com, which show that purchase mortgage volume dropped 2.4 percent to $156.2 million in April compared with $160 million in April 2016.

It’s been a while since the market has seen monthly volume fall year over year, and the continued improvement year-to-date would suggest, for now, that drop is an outlier. Year to date through the end of April, volume stood at a little more than $536 million. That’s up from $482.6 million for the same period in 2016, for a gain of 11 percent.

Looking at other metrics for the month of April itself, the market saw fewer mortgages being made – but an increase in the size of mortgages that lenders are making.

Lenders made 4 percent fewer mortgages in April – 871 compared with 912 a year ago – according to the Chandler Reports numbers. Even with that decrease, though, the average mortgage amount still grew to $179,326, up from $176,483 in April 2016.

It’s enough for bankers like Justin Byrd to still see continued positive signs in the market.

“Strong sentiment towards Memphis-area real estate continues to drive a robust mortgage market,” said Byrd, the chief financial officer for Bank of Bartlett. “This positive sentiment is due to both overall liquidity of the homes in the area and the general belief that values will continue to rise.

“The confluence of factors guiding those notions are ... shortage of residential inventory, continued low long-term interest rates, particularly low foreclosure rates, and sustained local and non-local investor demand.”

TOP APRIL LENDERS BY PURCHASE MORTGAGE VOLUME

Pinnacle

April 2016: $12.9 million

April 2017: $11.1 million

Iberiabank

April 2016: $10.5 million

April 2017: $9.9 million

Community Mortgage Corp.

April 2016: $10.7 million

April 2017: $9.8 million

Source: Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com

As far as general trends, he continued, there’s been an increase in first-time home buyers, investors purchasing homes to renovate and sell due to lack of new supply, and families scaling either up or down in home to access the improved equity in their current homes.

Crye-Leike broker Tommie Criswell enthused about “the good trend in rates (carrying) us into our busy season.”

On a similar note, John Baertels, a mortgage adviser with Pinnacle Financial Partners, said the area has become something of a seller’s market because of a lack of inventory.

“It seems like there’s two buyers for every one house now,” he said, “which is helping fuel prices. Rates are still very low. It’s a good time to buy a home. We’ve talked to several builders in the area, and they’re projecting to continue to see steady growth.”

Looking at the first four months of the year, meanwhile, the market has seen an increase both in the number of mortgages made year-to-date – compared to the same period in 2016 – as well as the average mortgage amount.

Year-to-date through the end of April, lenders had made 3,116 mortgages, up 8.5 percent from 2,870 one year earlier. The average mortgage amount year-to-date stood at $172,044 last month, up 2.3 percent from $168,187 one year earlier.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 19 170
BUILDING PERMITS 28 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 25 98 716
BUSINESS LICENSES 4 26 302
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0