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VOL. 37 | NO. 24 | Friday, June 14, 2013

Jump in $1M-plus sales a good sign for market

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The real estate market had an enemy of herculean strength in the Great Recession. One measure of how the market has recovered is the activity in the higher end, or properties that sell for $1 million or more.

As has been reported, sales for all area properties this year have increased 26 percent, following 28 percent growth in 2012. In the first five months of 2013, sales of more than $1 million have increased 38 percent with 54 sales this year and 12 houses closing in May.

In addition to the closed sales, six other properties have contracts pending with all contingencies removed, and 17 more went under contract. All of this data reflects a strong market in the upper end.

Through the end of May, there have been 54 properties that have sold for more than $1 million, compared to 39 for the same period last year and 32 in 2011. In 2010, there were 26 sales for more than $1 million at May’s end and the low was 16 in 2009.

During the first five months of 2007, there were 58 sales of more than $1 million. With the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors reporting that there were more than 3,000 sales in May for the first time since 2007, it seems 2013 is 2007 all over again.

While there are few condominiums that are worth more than $1 million, there had been some growth in that area with four sales in 2012 from January through May, up from two in 2011 and 2010, with the first sale on Realtracs records occurring in 2007.

This year, there are no closed sales for condominium in that category, although the median price in condos rose from $160,000 for this period last year to $179,000 this year with a slight increase in units sold.

In comparison, there are some numbers that are remarkably different this year from the first five months of 2012.

The first is that pending sales are rising along with house prices.

The other is that the inventory is suffocatingly low.

Another glaring characteristic is that there are 54 sales of more than $1 million, but only seven of those are more than $2 million. In 2007, there 24 sales of more than $2 million.

In 2007, the $2 million sales were spread over a diverse – at least geographically – area, with sales in Green Hills, Belle Meade, Northumberland, Granny White, Otterwood, Forest Hills and Bancroft.

In 2013, it’s back to the 1980s, with all of the seven sales coming from Belle Meade proper. Except one.

Sale of the Month

On May 10, Ronnie and Janine Dunn closed on the first $2 million property – $2 million even, to be exact – located outside of Belle Meade, public records show. The 1800 Chickering Road property, purchased by half of the former country duo Brooks & Dunn, is located across from Harpeth Hills Golf Course.

Listed by Jimmy Pilkerton, the master of mindfullness and president of Pilkerton Realtors, and his longtime partner and sister-in-law, Dana Rowan, the home was sold by a pair of sisters, Robin Dahl of Parks and her sibling Cathy Obolensky of Christianson, Patterson, et al.

The prestigious home consists of 5,751 square feet with five bedrooms and four baths plus the powder room.

Pilkerton, an evocative speaker as well as writer, described the property:

“Renowned Palm Beach architect John L. Volk designed this neo-classical masterpiece for Philip Kerrigan & family. Significant architectural detailing include: copper roof, walk-out windows, elliptical transoms and Doric columns.’

As he ran out of space in his general remarks section, he used the box reserved for Realtor’s remarks and went on to describe the charming boxwoods, a “Jane Eyre greenhouse” and the custom wrought iron design by Kerrigan Iron Works, which Pilkerton noted, “also did Cheekwood.”

The property also is zoned to allow for horses.

After 558 days on the market, the team of Pilkerton, Rowan, Dahl and Obolensky, with the help the homes magnificent pasture and nearby gurgling brooks, got the deal done.

In 2013, it is no small feat to achieve chart-topping success outside of Belle Meade. Now that the circle is broken, there might be more sales in outlying areas, perhaps all the way to Green Hills.

Richard Courtney is a partner with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com