VOL. 37 | NO. 20 | Friday, May 17, 2013
Rising economy lifts Midstate home sales, up 27% from 2012
By Bill Lewis
The Midstate economy is expanding so rapidly that hundreds of jobs are going unfilled. So it’s no surprise home sales are surging as employers recruit workers from other states to fill those positions.
Or perhaps it’s mortgage interest rates that are still hovering near historically low levels. Or home owners who felt trapped in a house they couldn’t sell during the recession. Now they’re getting multiple offers and moving up to their next house.
Or it might be all the wannabe owners who sat out the recession in rentals and are now purchasing homes with a vengeance.
For all of these reasons, and perhaps more, homes sales in April were 27 percent higher than a year ago across the region, according to the GNAR, the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors. Prices were up as well, but not as steeply.
“There’s so much economic growth. Businesses are creating jobs,” says Kendra Cooke, past-president of the GNAR and a Realtor with Bob Parks Realty in Murfreesboro.
She recently attended a meeting in which members of the Nashville Technology Council pointed out that every year more than 800 technology jobs go unfilled in the region. Businesses are recruiting employees from other regions and, when they arrive, many of them buy houses or condominiums.
“People are moving, and that’s creating a boom,” says Cooke.
Across the region, there were 2,780 home closings reported for April. That was 27 percent more than in April 2012, when there were 2,186, according to the GNAR.
In Davidson County, 1,293 homes were sold last month, an increase of almost 33 percent over April 2012, when 973 homes were sold. The average price was up more than 8 percent to $208,195. A year ago it was $191,661, according to a market survey by Chandler Reports.
One of the city’s hottest areas was East Nashville’s Inglewood neighborhood. There were 59 sales, almost 79 percent more than a year ago when there were 33 closings. The average price last month was up almost 28 percent to $147,594. In April 2012 the average price was $115,765.
In the 37209 zip code in West Nashville, which stretches from Sylvan Park to the Cheatham County line, sales were up more than 65 percent and the average price was up more than 12 percent. There were 86 home sales in the neighborhood last month. A year ago there were 52. The average price was $193,598. In April 2012 it was $172,104, according to Chandler Reports.
In Williamson County, sales were up more than 33 percent and prices were 5 percent higher than a year ago. Last month 519 homes were sold at an average price of $388,147. A year ago there were 389 sales for an average of $369,500.
Thompson’s Station was one of the county’s most active markets. Sales were up more than 133 percent and the average price was up more than 12 percent. Last month 35 homes were sold in this small town south of Franklin on I-65. The average price was $278,828. A year ago there were 15 sales for an average of $248,099.
In Rutherford County, sales were up almost 48 percent and the average price was 10 percent higher than in April 2012. Last month 553 homes were sold for an average price of $161,019. Last year there were 374 sales for an average of $146,315, according to Chandler Reports.
Smyrna was one of the county’s strongest areas. One reason: Parents moving their families in hopes of enrolling their children in the new Stewarts Creek High School.
“People are trying to get into the school district,” Cooke says. “Some areas are hotter than others, but most areas are hot.”
In Smyrna, sales were up more than 38 percent and the average price was almost 20 percent higher than in April 2012. Last month 94 homes were sold at an average price of $155,524. A year ago there were 68 sales at an average of $129,754.
In Wilson County, sales were up more than 30 percent and the average price was more than 7 percent higher than in April 2012. Last month 256 homes were sold at an average price of $218,171. Last year there were 196 sales for an average of $202,866.
Fast-growing Mt. Juliet was the county’s strongest market. Sales were up more than 46 percent and the average price was up about 8 percent. Last month 126 homes were sold for an average price of $241,146. A year ago there were 86 sales for an average of $222,986, according to Chandler Reports.
The county’s highly regarded schools and shopping at Providence marketplace make Wilson County competitive with Williamson County, says Clint Haynes, a mortgage loan officer at Peoples Home Equity.
“I heard in 2005 that Mt. Juliet would be the next Cool Springs,” Haynes says.
He sees a number of reasons for the housing market’s recovery.
“There’s a combination of pent-up demand, (interest) rates are still incredible and people are more comfortable with the economy,” says Haynes.