$1M-plus sales reach new heights in 2014

Friday, December 26, 2014, Vol. 38, No. 52

As 2014 comes to a close, the “Where does it end?” question is becoming more and more a part of the conversation.

And based on the past, it is a logical concern as buyers are being forced to pay more and more for houses with demand high and inventory low.

This real estate market is simply ablaze, with houses selling before they hit the market with multiple offers, many in excess of list price.

More and more of these pending sales are overcoming obstacles to get to the finish line as the appraisers cannot in good conscience and with due diligence appraise these homes for the prices they are garnering. So the buyers need more cash out of pocket, but in these gold rush times, they have the cash to invest and do not mind doing it.

So how good is it? Let’s take a walk through the higher-end homes, now referred to as luxury homes, or those costing $1 million or more.

In the history of the area that includes both Williamson and Davidson counties, 2006 was the year of years with 255 sales of more than $1 million. There was a drop in 2007, another in 2008 and the bottom fell out in 2009.

There were signs of recovery in 2010, 2011 and 2012, then 2013 rolled in with 284 at this time last year. If Realtors could have been doped with truth serum, most would have agreed that the 284 achieved by Christmas last year would be impossible to beat, ever.

But what to our wondering eyes should appear by Christmas 2014, but 319 $1 million-plus sales, 156 in Williamson County and 163 in Davidson.

It is not slowing by any means. As many businesses have slowed or shuttered for the holidays, the city’s Realtors, lenders, appraisers, inspectors and contractors are working furiously, some around the clock.

Pending sales in the area were hovering at 2,500 going into December, a number that has never existed at this time of year.

For the past 35 years at least – a time spanning my career – there have been two selling season is Nashville, spring market (April-June) and the fall market (Labor Day to Thanksgiving).

While many of those transplanting here are doing so in order to enjoy the four seasons, the real estate market has one season now, and it runs year-round.

There is no need to wait for the vegetation to blossom and the grass to green, and slapping that coat of paint over the bad spots is not necessary. The house will sell and sell fast, even with some slight cosmetic deficiencies.

Yet, there are bargains and exceptions to the quick sales, and those are homes that need the architect or the contractor. If sellers have the cash, they should make the improvements and profit from them.

If buyers have money, vision and the good sense to hire good architects and quality contractors, there are ways to make some hay as the sun shines, which it seemingly always does these days on the Nashville real estate market.

Sale of the Week

Bernie Taupin once mailed Elton John the lyrics to a song entitled “Tiny Dancer,” in which he wrote ‘The boulevard is not that bad.”

Elton attached a catchy melody, and it was an inviting riff to lead the listeners on musical journey through the 1971 album “Madman Across the Water.”

Even then, Belle Meade Boulevard provided its denizens access to the most expensive dirt in town.

Now, even with all of the hoopla about 12South, East Nashville, Germantown and all the high-rise development stealing the headlines, the Boulevard is not that bad.

The Boulevard is Nashville is still Belle Meade Boulevard, Bolt and all.

Last week, Dana Griscom and Jimmy Pilkerton of his eponymous firm were the listing agents of 1204 Belle Meade Boulevard, selling this 6,061-square-foot estate for $2.18 million in 41 days. That’s $359 a square foot if you’re curious.

Purchased in 2002 for $725,000, the owners had invested in a number of improvements and increased the square footage from 3,280 to its 6,061.

The house, situated on a 1.1-acre lot, was described as an “elegant European inspired with a French flare with the lot landscaped by Mark Thomas.” All of this on a home designed by the heralded Evelyn Anderson.

There were several features unique to the manse such as shake roof, copper gutters and a number of design components imported from Europe.

Johnny Paulks’ Siteworks company provided the courtyard with a fountain and fire pit. Siteworks seems to have emerged as the go-to pool, fountain and fire pit company.

Chip Wilkison of Neal Clayton Realtors represented the buyer of this home, a warm up walk away from Percy Warner Park.

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