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Sat, Oct 25, 2014

Housing sector shows signs of recovery

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Housing sector shows signs of recovery | Housing, Real Estate, Economy, Recovery, Business, Red Report, Steven Dotson, GNAR, Kendra Cooke

A total of 390 homes were sold in August, a slight increase from 375 in July and a 35 percent jump from August 2011. (J. Goodman)
Home sales in Rutherford County continued to climb upward for the eighth consecutive month, newly released data shows.

A total of 390 homes were sold in August, a slight increase from 375 in July and a 35 percent jump from August 2011.

“We usually see a seasonal decrease in the sales volume this time of year, but this year has been different,” says Steven Dotson, president of Rutherford County-based Red Realty.

“We have seen improvements in almost every month in every area. Based on the pendings leveling off for the first time this year, we should expect a modest seasonal decrease between now and the end of the year, but we should continue to see strong year-to-date numbers.”

Pending home sales were down 7 percent to 381 from July to August this year. Nearby Williamson County’s pending sales were down 10 percent, while Davidson’s pendings were the same as the month before and Wilson’s pending dropped 16 percent. Dotson pointed out that Wilson County’s numbers tend to jump up or down more than other counties due to lower volume.

“These pending numbers show we are about to see the seasonal decreases we have been talking about all year,” he said. “It’s coming a little later than usual, which is great.”

There were 2,606 homes sold in August throughout the Greater Nashville area, according to figures provided by the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors. This figure represents a 27.3 percent increase from the 2,047 closings reported for the same period last year.

Year-to-date closings for the Greater Nashville area have increased 25.4 percent. There were 17,174 closings, compared with 13,699 closings reported through August of last year.

“The August home sales numbers indicate that the Greater Nashville real estate market is demonstrating an important characteristic – sustainability,” said GNAR President Kendra Cooke. “There have been four consecutive months with closings above 2,400 – the first occurrence since 2007. This is encouraging evidence these positive trends could continue in the coming months.”

A total of 2,572 home sales were pending at the end of August, compared with 2,055 pending sales at this time last year.  The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 81 days.

“Pending sales are particularly strong and prices are stable. The continuation of very low interest rates is also a key factor in creating the active regional housing market,” Cooke explained. “Middle Tennessee continues to receive much positive attention, with both businesses and families moving here, resulting in even more growth. Our market is faring better than other areas of the country and we are exceeding many current national trends.”

The median residential price for a single-family home during August was $175,000, and for a condominium it was $147,634.  This compares with last year’s median residential and condominium prices of $171,900 and $152,000, respectively. Inventory at the end of August was 18,223, down slightly from 21,362 in August 2011.

“Inventory in Greater Nashville needs to increase,” Cooke added. “There is only a seven-month overall supply currently available and just a five-month supply for single-family residential. Today’s buyer is looking for opportunity to buy, but they are primarily interested in homes virtually ready for occupancy. Sales can be missed very easily if properties are not prepared and priced correctly.”

Home prices were up about 10 percent month-over-month in Rutherford County. Prices in Williamson County dipped 2 percent, while Davidson and Wilson counties both experienced a 1 percent increase.

“Prices are looking much better overall, as some price ranges and areas are doing very well,” Dotson continued. “Prices would be recovering much quicker if fair appraisals were being done by local experienced appraisers. We are seeing some improvements in appraisals; banks are starting to manage their appraiser pool a little better. But several banks/mortgage companies still have a long way to go.”

CoreLogic, a leading provider of information, analytics and business services, released its September MarketPulse report. The monthly economic publication provides insight into the current and future health of the U.S. economic climate with emphasis on housing and mortgage metrics.

The report points out out that while robust economic growth remains elusive, the housing market is accelerating in all areas. Sales are up, mortgage performance is improving and prices are rapidly improving.

“By many measures, the U.S. housing market is steadily improving in 2012,” said Anand K. Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Prices are stabilizing or rising in many markets, the levels of delinquencies and foreclosures continue to drop, and the purchase demand for homes is beginning to exceed supply in a number of areas in the country.”

He explained how the nascent housing recovery, together with a prolonged period of historically low interest rates, is producing a much stronger year for mortgage originations than many experts originally forecasted. Fore example, the Mortgage Bankers Association recently increased its forecast for 2012 to just over $1.4 trillion, up about 40 percent from initial estimates. The sentiment around 2013 origination volumes is also growing more positive.

“Despite these trends, we still face very serious headwinds on our way to achieving a truly sustainable and healthy housing industry,” he continued. “Some of the more important issues we face include continued high unemployment rates, fragile consumer confidence, the overhang of negative equity and the persistent lack of clarity and cohesiveness around government policy and regulations.”

He says by now, the industry has learned the painful lesson that not everyone is prepared to be a homeowner.

“However, it is in our collective best interest to see that the pendulum doesn’t swing further than intended, causing homeownership, long an achievable goal for most Americans, to become a privilege out of reach for many who desire it,” Nallathambi said.

“This is the tightrope on which industry and regulator interests must be balanced to achieve greater levels of certainty and stability. Doing so through clear, objective and unambiguous rules will contribute to an environment where the originanation and capital markets can grow and ultimately flourish.”
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Business, Economy, GNAR, Housing, Kendra Cooke, Real Estate, Recovery, Red Report, Steven Dotson
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