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VOL. 133 | NO. 50 | Friday, March 9, 2018

Memphis Home Sales Stay Hot Despite February Cold, Rain

By Patrick Lantrip

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A cold and rainy start to the year may have slowed down new construction, but it wasn’t enough to cool off Memphis’ overall housing market.

The average home sales price in Memphis and Shelby County for February rose 3 percent to $149,432 when compared to last year’s figures, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, chandlerreports.com.

The volume of home sales in February reached $177 million, up 9 percent from $162 million last February, according to the Chandler Reports data.

(Shutterstock.com)

The 1,183 sales recorded for the month marked a 6 percent increase from 1,114 a year ago.

Home sales topping $500,000 were up 20 percent in February 2017, while sales over $1 million rose 75 percent from last year.

Eads’ 38028 ZIP code recorded the highest average price, at $535,900.

Existing-home sales for the month rose 7.3 percent, with 1,118 recorded last month compared with 1,042 in February 2017. The average price of existing homes, meanwhile, reached $136,895.

Sales of new homes fell 11 percent in February, with 64 sales recorded compared with 72 a year ago. The average price of a new home, however, rose 38 percent to $368,447. Arlington’s 38002 ZIP code recorded the most new-home sales for the month, with 13 sales averaging $309,822.

“The weather has killed us the last couple of months,” said Griffin Elkington of Griffin Elkington Residential Construction and Development. “In February, 21 out of 28 days it rained, so I think it’s going to be a lag.”

Elkington said some of the builders he’s talked to haven’t been able to pour concrete because of the multiple consecutive cold and rainy spells.

“I have a feeling that there is a lag there of activity, so you’ll probably see a flurry of activity hit the market a little later than it would have normally hit.”

Which means that a house that would normally hit the market in May might not come online until July.

“We’ve just about had the worst winter and beginning of the year weather-wise imaginable,” he said.

Building permits

Developers pulled 64 new-home permits averaging $311,382 in January, up 28 percent from 50 in January 2017.

Regency Homebuilders was the top builder in January, with 6 new-home sales recorded averaging $486,140 and 12 new-home permits filed averaging $264,629.

The area seeing the most new-home permits in January was Southeast Shelby County’s 38125 ZIP code, with 22 permits averaging $229,156.

Foreclosure activity

Shelby County residential foreclosures continued to drop in February, according to Chandler Reports, with 129 recorded for the month – a 2 percent decrease from last year.

The average foreclosure amount was $81,390 and the average tax appraisal value was $101,418.

“Foreclosures are still continuing to decline, which is good, because when you have foreclosures declining, to me that’s a positive impact on overall home prices, which are going up,” said Chet Whitsitt, Crye-Leike Real Estate Services sales leader and vice president. “When you have the amount of foreclosure sales that we’ve had over the years, just the psychological aspect of what it does to people.”

Whitsitt said when foreclosures are high, sometimes buyers think an appropriately priced house is listed too high, because a foreclosure down the street is available for a fraction of the price, causing them to balk.

However, with many of these foreclosures already in the rear-view mirror, the area’s housing market is firing on all cylinders.

“Our office even had the best February in over 10 years,” he said.

Southeast Shelby County’s 38125 ZIP code had the highest foreclosure inventory value of $15 million across 88 properties, while Westwood’s 38109 ZIP code had the most homes in foreclosure inventory through February, with 160 valued at $6.5 million.

Among lenders, Fannie Mae had the highest foreclosure inventory, with 131 homes valued at $13 million.

Bank sales – or foreclosure sales – represented 7 percent of all Shelby County homes sold in February.

The 84 bank sales recorded last month marked a 15 percent decrease year over year. The volume of bank sales dropped 16 percent to $8 million.

Meanwhile, nonbank sales increased 8 percent to 1,098 last month, with the volume of nonbank sales also increasing 10 percent to $168.5 million.

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

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 140 207 19,653
MORTGAGES 128 196 22,629
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 13 2,935
BUILDING PERMITS 166 367 40,371
BANKRUPTCIES 40 102 12,588
BUSINESS LICENSES 16 33 6,407
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 31 81 7,476
MARRIAGE LICENSES 24 47 4,500