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VOL. 37 | NO. 29 | Friday, July 19, 2013

Home buying now a game of insider trading

By Bill Lewis

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The old fashioned way of buying a house – spotting a sign in the yard and having a Realtor arrange a tour – has gone the way of automobile tail fins and spats.

In Nashville’s red-hot housing market, many buyers have learned that the key to getting the house they want is knowing someone with inside information and getting there first, before it even goes on the market.

“I have sold six houses in the past two months that had not even hit the market,” says Ivy Arnold, affiliate broker at Parks Properties in Nashville. “It has become a key factor in this market that as an agent we stay fully connected with agents who have listings or buyers in the areas we work in.”

The housing market has made a 180-degree turn from the dark days of the Great Recession when even desirable homes often sat on the market without attracting an acceptable offer. In the second quarter of this year, home sales soared across the region.

There were 8,879 closings during the months of April, May and June, a 24.4 percent increase over the 7,139 closings during the same period in 2012, according to the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors (GNAR).

So far this year, closings throughout the region are up 23.8 percent. There were 14,839 closings through June, compared with 11,994 for the first half of 2012, the GNAR says.

Prices are up as well. For the first time ever, the median home price topped $200,000. The previous high was $196,000 back in June 2007, just before the downturn began.

“Seeing prices increase may encourage some people to consider selling, which would be helpful in light of the fact that inventory remains low. Quality properties are selling very quickly right now,” says GNAR President Price Lechleiter.

In Davidson County, sales in the second quarter of this year were up 25.5 percent and the average price was 8.9 percent higher than during the same period of 2012. During the second quarter of 2013, 4,076 homes were purchased for an average price of $219,584. A year ago, there were 3,247 sales for an average of $201,613, according to a market survey by Chandler Reports.

Inglewood, on the east side, continues to be one of Nashville’s hottest neighborhoods. There were 183 sales during the second quarter, a 74.3 percent increase compared to last year’s 105 closings. The average price was $149,409, a 12.5 percent increase compared to last year’s average of $132,761.

Bellevue, on the west side of the city, also showed strength. There were 292 sales during the second quarter, a 34.6 percent increase compared to last year’s 217. The average price was up more than 12 percent to $215,698. Last year the average price was $191,987, according to Chandler Reports.

In Williamson County, sales increased more than 33 percent, and the average price was 3.6 percent more than last year. During the second quarter of 2013, 1,696 homes found new owners. The average price was $392,085. A year ago there were 1,273 sales for an average of $378,445.

Williamson County is a destination for many people relocating to the region for work, retirement or to be closer to family, says Melissa Allen, a Realtor with Re/Max Choice Properties in Brentwood. About 20 percent of her business involves relocations.

“We’ve been in the spotlight,” she says, thanks to ABC’s “Nashville” television show and the new Music City Center convention center.

Thompson’s Station, a growing community south of Franklin, was one of the county’s strongest markets. Residents of the Tollgate Village and Bridgemore subdivisions are hearing the sounds of saws and hammers as new homes rise on building lots. Miami-based Lennar Corp., one of the nation’s largest home builders, recently purchased 40 lots in Tollgate Village from South Carolina-based Dock Street.

A new master planned community, Canterbury, also is being developed in Thompson’s Station. Builders include Goodall Homes, Celebration Homes, Shaw Home Builders and Ford Custom Classic Homes.

Mars Petcare is building an $87.9 million innovation center on a 90 acre campus inside the town, and Shelter Insurance is investing up to $5 million to build a 30,000-square-foot headquarters facility inside Tollgate Village.

There were 119 sales in Thompson’s Station during the second quarter of this year, a 56.6 percent increase compared to last year’s 76 sales. The average price last quarter increased 17.5 percent to $282,325. Last year’s average price was $240,239, according to Chandler reports.

In Rutherford County, sales increased more than 28 percent and the average price increased more than 8 percent in the second quarter of this year. There were 1,685 sales during the quarter for an average price of $163,091. During the same period a year ago, 1,312 homes changed hands for an average price of $150,809.

Neighborhoods within Murfreesboro’s 37130 zip code were particularly strong. There were 239 sales in the area, a 43.1 percent increase compared to last year’s 167 sales. The average price during the months of April, May and June increased more than 16 percent to $170,182. Last year’s average price was $146,492.

Smyrna, on the county’s north side, was another top performer. There were 278 sales during the second quarter, a 23.6 percent increase compared to last year’s 225. The average second quarter price increased 10.4 percent to $154,862. Last year’s average price was $140,325, according to Chandler Reports.

In fast-growing Wilson County, sales increased more than 29 percent, and the average price was 9.5 percent more than last year. During the second quarter of this year, there were 817 sales for an average price of $220,074. During the same period last year, 630 homes were purchased for an average price of $201,042.

Mt. Juliet continues to be Wilson County’s most active market. There were 422 sales during the months of April, May and June, a 31.1 percent increase over last year’s 322 sales. The average second quarter price increased 11.7 percent to $245,151. Last year the average price was $219,408, according to Chandler Reports.

New-home construction is helping to drive sales in Mt. Juliet, says Crye-Leike broker and Realtor Jimmy Deatrick.

“Most builders weren’t doing anything” during the recession. “Then it suddenly explodes,” he says. “Mt. Juliet’s hot.”

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0