Condo market shifts fortunes back to east

Friday, November 9, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 45

So, the election happened. We now know the results, but Realtors and anyone looking for homes knew well in advance how various neighborhoods would vote. A tally of campaign signs can yield results with a smaller margin of error than any poll taken.

Belmont and Hillsboro Village went big for Obama, probably 8 to 1, with Belle Meade 8 to 1 for Romney.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper and Sen. Bob Corker won in landslides. In this polarized world, it was refreshing to see a number of yards brandishing Cooper signs alongside those for Romney.

Bellevue probably went for Romney by a 2-to-1 margin, while the Hampton, Medial, Golf Club, Woodmont and Sperry area was likely as close as 5 to 4, but still Romney.

East Nashville and 12South is Obama territory, while Crieve Hall was too close to call. From the looks of things, they ran out of Obama signs on the way to Brentwood. There was a close race between Jason Powell and Ben Claybaker in Crieve Hall, with both amassing inordinately high numbers of signs. Could they word those referendi more difficultly, please? You know the writing is bad when the English is translated into English. Eric Crafton can rest now. Did he run?

Sales of the Week

Location, location, location is the outdated, worn-out catch all answer to the real estate riddle, “ What are the three most important factors in determining real estate value?”

While location is an element, condition has replaced location and is now the relative factor in determining the salability, hence the value.

Nashville’s condominium market is experiencing and demonstrating the most radical market shift since the fire destroyed East Nashville in 1916. For those that are not aware of this fire, here’s how it shifted the Nashville real estate market:

In March of 1916, a fire swept through Nashville’s most opulent, affluent neighborhood, East Nashville, destroying more than 500 homes and leaving some 2,500 people homeless.

Residential development in the city, to this point, had been centered around downtown and the Capitol. After the fire, West End Avenue drew a number of inhabitants and businesses, and the wealth in the city shifted from East to West.

This week’s featured sales reflect the recent shift in real estate wealth, at least in the condo sector, from West to East.

The first sale is in the Royal Oaks condominiums located across the street from Belle Meade Kroger on Harding Road. Unit 147 was listed for sale by none other than Dixie Couts representing the seller in a novelesque twist, while Mike Post delivered the buyer to this 899-square-foot, one-bedroom flat, which sold for $95,000.

In the comments, Dixie’s land was described having nine-foot ceilings, built-in bookcases, fresh paint, a pantry, large storage room, walk-in closets and new blinds. The maintenance fee is $178 per month, and the development includes a swimming pool. The reserved carport is only $10 per month.

As is the case in this revered condominium development, the owner had been there for years, 26 of them in fact, and had paid $55,000 for the home in 1984. He purchased it from the original owner, who was a pioneer in Nashville condo acquisition when he paid $38,500 for the property. “Heck, you could have bought a real house for that.”

But he silenced the skeptics as his property appreciated $16,500 over the toughest real estate years since the Great Depression, that is until 2008.

To the East is the Adelicia on 20th Avenue, formerly the home of Peking Garden which was established before anyone had heard of Beijing. Here, Marilyn Newsome listed a one-bedroom flat, with fresh paint, blinds, walk-in closets and a view of the city. The complex also offers a pool and a clubhouse. It has 988 square feet, as opposed to the 899 square feet at Royal Arms, yet sold for $390,000 – more than four times the sale price at Royal Arms.

“Why would you buy a condo now?” was a question that the original buyer was no doubt asked as many thought the city had overbuilt and that there was a glut of condos on the market.

Many felt that the Rhett Butlers of development were selling the city a bill of goods in these downtown projects, and that it would be impossible for the city to absorb the high-rise growth. Many of the visionary developers and their buildings were the subject of negative press and often the laughingstock of the uninformed. Frankly, they did give a damn. They built on.

While the sale/purchase was closed in 2008 on the eve of the recession, most Adelicia buyers had contracted earlier in the pre-construction phase. Yet the seller in this case had paid $336,000 in 2008, and like the original owner of the Harding Road condo, had weathered times of economic ruin and turned a handsome profit. Dax McCall of Zeitlin Realtors represented the buyer.

Richard Courtney is a partner with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at He prefers Vonnegut over Mitchell.