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VOL. 132 | NO. 224 | Friday, November 10, 2017

Mortgage Market Up 10 Percent in October

By Andy Meek

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With the first month of the final quarter of 2017 now in the books, this is supposed to be the period when business gets a little slower for mortgage lenders, with the colder weather setting in and consumer focus turning to the holidays.

Talk to bank executives like Lisa Reid, though, and she’ll tell you that demand remains white-hot. And that her employer, Pinnacle Financial Partners – which was the busiest lender in Shelby County during October on a purchase mortgage volume basis – has seen consistent, steady mortgage business all year, a level that’s continuing even now.

“We had a good October, and I think we’ll end the year in really good shape,” said Reid, regional manager for Pinnacle. And while her bank enjoyed a strong month, so did the local market as a whole, with the latest figures from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com, showing the market saw a 10 percent gain in purchase volume during October.

Top October lenders by purchase mortgage volume:


October 2016: $9.3M

October 2017: $14.1M

Community Mortgage Corp.

October 2016: $11.2M

October 2017: $13.9M


October 2016: $9.7M

October 2017: $9.7M

Source: Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com

According to Chandler Reports, volume countywide jumped from $151.9 million in October 2016 to $167.7 million last month. Over that same period, lenders made more individual mortgages – 928 last month, compared to 868 in October 2016 – and the average dollar size of those mortgages is getting bigger.

The average mortgage last month was $180,730, up from $174,981.

Pent-up demand is partly responsible.

“We’re seeing a lot of demand and multiple offers on any one given house,” Reid said. “A lot of it is, I think, we as lenders have had lots of people in our pipeline this year, and it’s not an issue of financing. It’s an issue of getting a house, because of the multiple-offers situation.”

All of that is not to suggest the positivity is uniform across the market and that lenders consider this a perfect season for them. The typical seasonal slowdown, even just a slight one, has kicked in for some.

Community Mortgage Corp.’s local volume was up almost 25 percent year over year, to $13.9 million, according to the Chandler numbers. But CFO Mike Wells said they’re starting to see a slight dip in activity. He also agrees with Reid that, “housing inventory remains in short supply, creating multiple offers on many homes.”

Year over year things have improved, but the market did see a bit of a drop from September to October, which lines up with Wells’ assessment. October’s $167.7 million in volume was down from a little more than $180 million in September.

If you zoom out and look at the year-to-date numbers, the market is heading in the right direction. Volume from January through Oct. 31 was $1.7 billion, up from $1.6 billion during the same period in 2016.

The number of mortgages grew over that same period, from 8,792 to 9,612. The average mortgage amount in 2017 is also up slightly compared to the same period in 2016 ($181,428, compared to $180,137).

Rob Heard, executive vice president and director of Private Client Financial Services for First Tennessee Bank’s Mid-South Region, said he’s seen some reports indicating the number of mortgage applications nationally has been declining in recent months.

“In Private Client, we have been feeling that as well,” he said.

“While we have a number of pre-qualification letters out with clients who are shopping for homes, we seem to be in a seller’s market with more demand than supply. Highly desirable homes don’t stay on the market long.”

PROPERTY SALES 107 331 6,877
MORTGAGES 60 239 4,368
BUILDING PERMITS 190 508 16,423
BANKRUPTCIES 22 136 3,532