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VOL. 44 | NO. 22 | Friday, May 29, 2020

$1M+ market remains hot as lower-end listings suffer

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Sales in the Nashville area dropped 17% in April, numbers collected by the Greater Nashville Realtors reveal. The data also showed pending sales substantially lower for April this year, a portent of lower sales numbers in May.

There is a bright spot buried in the numbers: Upper-end sales. This was little difference in sales for that category compared to April 2019. Perhaps buyers and sellers in upper-end houses are less affected, especially in Nashville, where the clusters of COVID-19 cases are not in areas with higher sales prices.

Realtracs shows there were 189 sales over $1 million or more Jan. 1-May 25 of last year. This year, there were 183.

Last year, there were three sales over $4 million-plus during that period with $5.25 million registering as the most-expensive home sold. This year there have been five sales over $4 million or more, including sales of $7 million and $8 million.

Last year there were three sales between $3 million and $4 million during that period. This year there have been four.

This year has a 40-32 edge in $2 million-$3 million homes sold. It’s close – 43-42 – in the $1.5 million-$2 million range, with 2020 winning.

It is only in the $1 million-$1.5 million that 2020 lags with 92. There were 109 in 2019. Last week was slightly discouraging as far as closed sales go in that range with 10 for 2019 and only three for this year.

However, a remarkable 18 homes of $1 million or more went under contract in Davidson County last week, an enormous number in any era.

While the city’s upper-end sales have not changed drastically during the quarantine and the Safer at Home order, the day-to-day real estate profession has undergone some modifications with the addition of several documents and practices.

With the population divided on the severity of the virus and its implications, there were many who insisted on viewing properties during that period. The viewings were legal –real estate is designated an essential business – although some felt uncomfortable traipsing through houses whose inhabitants may or may not have been washing hands and following other guideline for safe practices.

Among the citizenry, there are those that refuse to wear face masks. Some firms and homeowners feel gloves and face masks are helpful in protecting the spread of the virus. Their views are shared with another group often referred to as doctors.

Many firms are requiring buyers to wear facemasks to enter homes. With the recent physical attacks and even murders that have occurred as a result of requests for people who are not fans of masks, look for open houses to decline.

Additionally, there has been a COVID-19 Release generated by the Tennessee Realtors that is basically a “hold harmless’ should anyone be exposed to “disease causing organisms” while touring a home. With various businesses either being closed or working remotely, Tennessee Realtors has developed another document extending performance deadlines for various aspects of the real estate transactions such as loan obligations, inspections, appraisals, and even closings if there is some COVID-related reason that the company is unable to perform.

Sale of the Week

4502 Utah

The Nashville residential real estate market has been inundated with new construction during the past eight years, and the newer houses are forcing the older homes to either renovate or depreciate. There are buyers who prefer the charm and character of the older homes but want the home to have modern features.

Most of these buyers are not prone to choosing architects and contractors, nor are they up for undertaking the tasks on their own. For those reasons, the renovated, older homes are able to compete and demand the same price per square foot, even higher in many instances.

Such was the case at 4502 Utah in Sylvan Park, a home listed by the wife and husband team of Lizzie and Fletcher Caldwell of Pilkerton Realtors. With an unassuming façade, the structure represented its 1929 birth year well. Once inside, the beauty abounded with a décor that would rival any residence found in any of the national house and garden publications.

Its 2,273 square feet masquerading as a much larger space, the beams on the vaulted ceilings seemed to reach the heavens. The bathrooms were updated in exquisite fashion, and the kitchen bests those of new construction boasting $2 million price tags.

The oversized lot could be enjoyed from the screened porch, and the roof is a mere 2 years of age, only 89 years younger than the joists supporting it.

The venerable Robin Thompson of Worth Properties represented the seller and was able to secure this property in its first day on the market. Oddly enough, even in the current weird world of COVID, houses are selling at the same frenetic pace and the great houses continue to receive multiple offers.

With the $320-per-square-foot sale on the Utah home, those considering selling should scurry to renovate their homes. 4501 Utah last sold in 2013 for $136 per square foot during a safe period when scary masks were worn on Halloween and accepted by all.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Fridrich and Clark Realty, LLC and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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