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VOL. 38 | NO. 32 | Friday, August 08, 2014

Low inventory threatens fall real estate market

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The Nashville real estate market has traditionally included two selling seasons, the spring and the fall markets.

Spring is understandable, as it follows the cold weather and buyers are ready to shed their coats and beat the streets in their comfy clothing.

The fall market perplexes sellers, as it begins immediately after school opens.

Common sense would seem to dictate the opposite of this phenomenon. Most would think that buyers would shop all summer, buy homes, then nestle in and prepare for the school year.

Yet, in Nashville, they hustle about all summer running to and from camps, vacations, baseball games, swimming pools and play dates only to find respite when the schools take over the child care.

Given the seven-hour break each day, buyers flock to shop for new housing.

Autumn, 2014, may be the year for breaking that tradition.

One reason is the summer real estate market skipped its June swoon this year, and the other is that there is nothing for shoppers to buy, as inventory levels have dropped significantly.

Jack Miller of Parks, speaking at his breakfast club last week, announced to the group that he is “sold out” for the first time in his illustrious 16-year career. Miller, who two weeks ago sold a $5 million home, could use the break, but admits “it is scary.”

Breakfast clubs have provided means for Realtors to network for decades and are constructed with various missions. Some cater to specific areas, for example, while others, such as Miller’s, seek more real estate diversity. In this market, they are more business than social.

The group in which Miller participates was founded by Amy Cannon of Neal Clayton Realtors five years ago and consists of some 25 agents ranging in age from those using Clearasil to those who Neutrogena. Her group includes urbanites from Nashville and stretches to those that sell rural home in Williamson County, the latter accounting for more than $350 million in sales volume last year.

The meetings are held each month in one of the members’ listings.

One of the ground rules that Cannon developed is that there is a roundtable discussion each week, and each person is allowed to discuss two properties, be they new listings or buyer needs, one of each or two of either, but only two.

Cannon’s twangy school-marm personality is quick to scold anyone who might attempt to sneak a third property into the mix.

Over the years, new listings were featured more than buyer needs, as it has typically been more challenging to sell a listing than to find homes for buyers.

That’s now flipped, with each person describing different buyer needs.

On the rare occasion that one of the members opens with ‘I have a new listing coming up in ….” eyes quickly turn to that person and the room becomes as quiet as the Bluebird Café.

Sale of the Week

The contemporary residential structure at 4519 Belmont Park Terrace sold last week for $1,035,000 only 13 days after being listed by Ivy Arnold of Parks in The Gulch. Although listed for $1,025,000, Arnold pulled in an extra $10,000, as she is prone to do.

In the same week, the perennial powerhouse sold 3509 Trimble for $1,330,202 after listing for $1,250,000. Not a bad week for Ivy, who cut her teeth selling several Icon units.

Betty Finucane of Fridrich and Clark represented the buyer on the Trimble property, while Lou Moore of Prominent Realty Group delivered the buyer on the Belmont Park Terrace and Mary Beth Thomas of Fridrich and Clark had co-listed the contemporary.

Not one for understatement, Arnold describes the house as “a stunning Frank Lloyd Wright classic with modern flare.” And being the hip communicator that she is, she added a sentence not often, if ever, seen in real estate description: “This flawless floor plan will leave you with something to tweet about.”

Perhaps the new homeowner will bring along a canary and will name his cat Sylvester.

“You will not find another home like this” she added in a statement that is true today and perhaps contradicted tomorrow. The next sentence portends homes from Christmas future as she predicts two other houses will be built next door. Methinks they may be the same style as this stark, sleek floor plan has fewer walls, less trim, albeit more pizazz than traditional construction.

The open plan includes 3,787 square feet with four bedrooms, and four and one-half baths. The Nashville market is starved for this product, as there have been few quality contemporary homes built through the years.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker affiliated with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Associates and can be reached at Richard@richardcourtney.com.