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VOL. 37 | NO. 35 | Friday, August 30, 2013

Fade to black? Tuesday numbers will be telling

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The fall selling season kicks off on Black Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, and the real estate brokers are watching with trembling knees to see if the market returns. As has been widely reported, sales for the year are up well over 22 percent while last years’ sales were 18 percent higher than the year before.

Interest rates have risen into the barely tolerable 4.5 percent range, a rate that would have been envied in 2004. Borrowers, aka sellers, are spoiled rotten and, we hope, their disdain for these “high” rates will dissipate.

While Black Tuesday is less official than the other black days, this year it may have more relevance than the prior five years, during which no one knew what to expect. In anticipation of a bad fall season, it was reported last week that Wells Fargo laid off 3,500 loan officers, or originators.

Understandably, this layoff had more to do with the evaporation of the refinance market than the new sales market, but jobs are jobs. The fewer there are, the fewer buyers there are and consequently, the fewer sellers.

With the 36 sales of more than $1 million last year, up from 22 in July, 2012, and 14 in 2011, there are now 154 homes listed with million dollar-plus price tags. Even the upper-end homes have only a four-month supply, and expensive homes are selling for big bucks in areas that haven’t enjoyed million-dollar status in recent times.

West Meade, for example, had four houses for more than $1 million close in July, an event that had not occurred in years. In the 12South area, the demand is light years ahead of supply, even with developers replacing single homes on single lots with two structures.

Michelle Maldonado of Sotheby’s Lipman group stated she could sell 10 midtown/downtown condos today for $1 million-plus if there were any in inventory. The problem with those pesky penthouses is that there have to be several hundred owners in the other units in order to achieve high-rise status. With things as hot as they are, there is not much demand for low-rise penthouses.

East Nashville and Sylvan Park continue to duke it out for the creatively cool, and the Village is a home for those coolsters who have traded their scooters for baby carriages. It is still wild out there in the It City or Now Town, or whatever this week’s moniker is. But Black Tuesday lurks.

September’s sales numbers will be a portent for the immediate future of Nashville real estate.

Sale of the Week

The sale of the week this week is located at 111 Postwood Place, just a couple of clicks off of White Bridge road. The house was listed by Steve Fridrich of Fridrich and Clark Realty, and Barbara Keith Payne of Pilkerton Realtors targeted the buyer.

The four-bedroom, three and a-half-bath home was totally renovated with a master suite down and glowing hardwood floors and a gourmet kitchen.

The seller of the house was Olympian Connie Petracek, who the Washington Post once described as “No. 1 with a Bullet.” Petracek competed in the1992 and 1996 Olympics, and her daughters, Kristen and Kara, are shooting stars as well, having won numerous national championships.

The home has 3,675 square feet set amid the treetops that adorn the gated community.

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