Shelby County Mortgage Market Up 9 Percent in February

By Andy Meek

Now that the weather is starting to warm up a little from the frigid start to the year, mortgage lenders like Jessica Campbell are noticing something else: a “steady increase” in both refinances and purchase mortgage volume.

New numbers out now covering mortgage activity in Shelby County during February also show that’s the case, though homebuyers are “having a difficult time finding a home to purchase due to the short supply of homes on the market, especially for less expensive homes,” said Campbell, vice president, mortgage loan specialist, with BankTennessee. “Low inventory continues to push home prices higher. What we foresee for 2018 – With higher home prices, we may see more borrowers considering adjustable rate mortgages that maybe can offer a lower interest rate.”

Fresh numbers from real estate information company Chandler Reports,, put some context behind that sentiment. They show, among other things, that purchase mortgage volume picked up again in February after a strong start to the year – specifically, a 17 percent gain in purchase mortgage volume during January.

Top February 2018 lenders
by purchase mortgage volume

Community Mortgage
February 2018: $9.6 million
February 2017: $8.9 million

February 2018: $6 million
February 2017: $6 million

Pinnacle Financial Partners
February 2018: $5.4 million
February 2017: $3.8 million

Source: Chandler Reports,

The Chandler Reports numbers show a 9 percent increase in purchase mortgage volume during February. That percentage gain equated to a jump in volume from almost $104.2 million in February 2017 to almost $114 million last month.

February also saw gains in both the number of mortgages that lenders issued as well as the average dollar amount of those mortgages. The number of mortgages themselves grew from 617 to 639 over the two February periods, and the average dollar amount climbed from $168,823 to $178,031 over that same span.

These numbers represent a bit of a slide from January’s results, during a month when presumably the colder weather and start of the year might otherwise have kept borrowers focused on other things. Volume dropped from almost $133 million during January to almost $114 million in February.

Still, lenders are anticipating a robust market this year.

“The strong economy is expanding the base of consumers who are able to qualify for loans to purchase homes,” said Evolve Bank & Trust’s mortgage division president Doug Miller. “We’re just entering the beginning of the spring home-buying season, and as a result we’re seeing mortgage production rising. We anticipate an increase in mortgage lending attributed to home purchases, which will represent more than 80 percent of all loans we produce.”

Meanwhile, the mortgage market in Memphis is actually running a bit ahead of itself performance-wise compared to where things stood year-to-date at this point in 2017.

Through the end of February 2017, the year had seen a little more than $217 million in purchase mortgage activity. Over the same two months in 2018, that number was up to $246.5 million.

The number of mortgages also saw a pop – from 1,298 to 1,380 over those two year-to-date periods. Lenders also are contributing to a rise in the average dollar amount of those mortgages. That number likewise grew, from $167,337 to $178,627.

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