Local home sales take unexpected turn

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Home sales in Rutherford County took an unexpected turn for the better last month.

During a time when the housing market typically experiences a seasonal lull, local sales were anything but ordinary in the month of October.

According to newly released statistics, a total of 316 homes were sold last month in Rutherford County, compared to 289 in September. The number represents a 22 percent increase from homes sold in October 2011, and data shows home prices increased 1 percent during the same time period.

Steven Dotson, president of Rutherford County-based Red Realty, expressed his surprise in the positive outcome.

“For some reason, October jumped back up, improving the year-to-date numbers even more,” he said. “We predicted to see a steady decrease for the remainder of the year due to the expected seasonal drops, so this is big news.”

Nearby, Wilson County experienced similar results, with a 15 percent year-over-year gain. But Williamson and Davidson counties showed the most improvement with whopping 42 percent and 43 percent increases, respectively.

Additionally, pending home sales prove promising for November’s total sales. Davidson County led the pack with 693 sales pending, followed by Williamson with 364, Rutherford with 358 and Wilson with 196. Note the number of sales and pendings are higher in some areas due to the availability of inventory.

“These pending numbers show we will finish the year very strong,” Dotson said.

“Wow, was I surprised when I saw October closings were higher than September and a staggering 34 percent higher than October of last year (for the four counties collectively). I was bracing myself for a much slower winter, so to see the increased closings and pendings is a huge breath of fresh air … we can for sure say that 2012 will be the turnaround year in our real estate market.”

These increases are comparable with those in the Greater Nashville area, data provided by the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors shows. With 2,312 home sales reported for October, the 11 counties collectively showed a 33.8 percent year-over-year improvement.

Year-to-date sales through October are 26 percent higher than the same time last year. Also, the total year-to-date sales in 2012 exceed the 20,624 total closing for all of last year, with two full months remaining.

“Home sales for nine of the ten months in 2012 have been up more than 20 percent compared to last year,” says GNAR President Kendra Cooke. “For the seventh month in a row Middle Tennessee area closings are more than 2,000. What is especially encouraging is that the number of pending sales is also staying well above previous levels, meaning the pipeline of closings continues to flow. Closings are up in every category with the exception of multi-family homes. Median prices are up significantly for both single-family homes and condominiums, which is very welcoming news.”

A total of 2,367 sales were pending at the end of October, which proves promising for the remainder of 2012. And inventory showed a marked decrease year-over-year, with 17,217 single-family homes available on the market, compared to 20,165 in October 2011.

“Inventory is much lower than it was a year ago, and it is continuing to reduce. Total supply is now less than eight months’ overall, and less than six months for single-family homes,” Cooke continued.

“Few people consider this a good time to put their home on the market, due to holiday schedules and other factors. However, for those seriously considering the sale of their home, it is helpful to understand there is good reason to act soon. The seasonal trend is generally for fewer closings from November through February, but buyers who are looking during those months, and especially around the holidays, are very focused, serious buyers. And, with the election finally behind us, it is possible that those waiting on the outcome will begin to act. If you do plan to put your home on the market, be sure it is market ready and properly priced. Your Realtor can help you address those, and other issues, to make your home attractive to today’s buyers.”

While the housing market is now a significant contributing factor to economic growth, it will take much more time before the housing market sees a full recovery, leadings analytics provider, CoreLogic, states in its November MarketPulse report.

“Short- to medium-term factors driving this recovery are fueled by an investor-based demand for rental properties, combined with rising home prices and a decline in the number of under-equitied households,” the report opines. “A full housing recovery will be driven by a healthier economy, fundamental gains in income growth and consumption, and an ongoing increase in home prices.”

Still, as compared to the rest of the nation, Rutherford County and Middle Tennessee are faring rather well, says Dotson.

“We have so much to be thankful for here in Middle Tennessee,” he said. “When you look around other areas of the US and the world, we are very fortunate.”
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Economy, Housing, Real Estate, Rutherford County
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