October 10th, 2012
(Borrowed from today’s The Tennessean. Thank you to Getahn Ward.)
Home sales and median prices rose in the Nashville area last month from a year ago, signaling recovery in the region’s housing market is gaining firmer footing.
The 2,266 home closings for September were up 23.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors. The median price of single-family homes sold increased to $175,000, up 7 percent from a year earlier.
“Greater Nashville is fortunate to be experiencing these increases, as they are still not the case in many other parts of the country,” said Kendra Cooke, GNAR’s president, citing sales here rising year-over-year every month this year.
Month-over-month, closings fell slightly in September vs. August, a decline Cooke attributed to seasonal trends. The median price also was flat month-over-month. But over the summer, 7,446 homes changed hands, up 26.2 percent compared with last year, and the median price was 3 percent higher than for the three months a year ago.
In September, increases were seen across property types except for a slight drop in multi-family home closings.
On average, single-family homes sat on the market for 82 days in September, a decline from 94 days a year ago. “Listings are getting multiple offers quickly and selling more quickly,” said Jay Lowenthal, a broker with Zeitlin & Co. Realtors.
With 2,291 sales pending at the end of September, up 33 percent compared with this time last year, Nashville-based appraiser Richard Exton expects strong sales year-over-year for October. But he doesn’t expect sales as high as what was seen over the summer months.
Exton classified the inventory of 17,897 single-family homes on the market at the end of last month, down from 20,718 a year ago, a little more than a six-month’s supply. That’s a balanced market where buyers and sellers are on equal footing.
“If inventory continues to go down and sales continue to increase year-over-year, sellers could gain the advantage because there are fewer choices,” Exton said, adding that there’s always a slowdown in sales during the holiday season.
The data released by GNAR didn’t break down the home sales by price ranges. But Gaius Hill, president of Christian Realty in Brentwood, estimates 20 percent of the sales are homes under $120,000 that investors are buying to rent out.
His clients include Mona Lam, an investor in Hawaii, who began buying single-family homes in that price range here in 2007. “I like that area,” Lam said about Nashville. “It’s beautiful. You have a good real estate market value that’s unlike Hawaii. Hawaii is always overpriced; you get a good value for your dollars (here).”
Sales of homes in the price range of $350,000 or above remains slower, said Hill, whose other clients include Chinese nationals looking to invest in real estate here. He sees home prices rising from strong demand and not much building under way.
Exton said days of extraordinary bargains have passed. For September, Williamson had the highest median price of $340,000.
Getahn Ward can be reached at 615-726-5968 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @