Looking for signs of easing pressure in housing market

Friday, May 19, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 20

There are reports of apartment dwellers receiving notices from management offering a free month’s rent for referrals.

Also, flags are flying at several developments offering a free month’s rent to new tenants.

So, is the boom over? Has some other city been tagged “It?”

Not likely, as the apartments seem to be holding their prices and there remains a scarcity of rentals for anything under one year.

When flags advertising “Six-month rentals available” or “reduced rates” begin flying, that will be the equivalent of restaurant draping a “Live Entertainment” banner or “Open for Brunch” sign over the entry.

Meanwhile in the residential market, almost anything less than $600,000 is devoured in a matter of days.

Last weekend, there were several examples of Bellevue homes being listed for prices that were incomparable and “uncompable,” listing for $30-$50 more per square foot than anything in their communities.

They would have languished in the past. Last week, they received multiple offers.

In some cases, buyers are paying more than list price and planning major renovations. The question then becomes how they will fare if they have to sell in the next few years?

With the recent trend toward newer homes commanding higher prices per square foot, anything a buyer does to make the house appear newer will benefit the owner when the property is ultimately sold.

To recap, a buyer pays the highest price per square foot ever in the area and then spends an additional $40,000 on a 1,500-square-foot house, another $26 per square foot.

If the buyer can afford it and if it makes the house perfectly livable and if the buyer plans to stay at least four years, all is well. At least barring external financial catastrophe.

The Bellevue Mall project coupled with Bellevue’s affordability has rocketed the area into one of the most popular in Nashville.

After taking the hit from the Recession only to be smashed by the Flood of 2010, Bellevue was in trouble.

The mall was an albatross, and some of the construction in the 1970s questionable.

With millions of post-flood insurance dollars poured into the area, neighborhoods have welcomed contractors and it has emerged in much better shape than it was before.

The Bellevue Station subdivision located at the site of the old Bellevue Market is one example of the quality, exciting development in the resilient community.

As the state legislature ventured into the short-term versus long-term rental – Airbnb, VRBO, etc. – battle, residents feared the worst, but that has blown over for now.

The Metro council has heard mountains of input from those for and against the battle

Sale of the Week

Constructed in 2014, the house at 823 Knox Avenue sold that year for $510,000. Its design was unique to the city, and the 12South neighborhood was continuing to exhibit its growing popularity.

As the area was unphased by the Recession with its real estate prices increasing while others in Nashville plummeted.

As prices for newer homes have trended upward, surpassing the values seen in existing construction, the question loomed as to whether the newer houses would hold their value as they aged.

Last week, the home on Knox Avenue closed for $574,000, some $64,000 more than what the owner had paid three years earlier.

In years past, before the boom, Nashville-area properties appreciated an average of 3 percent to 6 percent per year, and this property appreciated slightly more than 4 percent annually over the three years.

The design has not given the house’s age as the style has proliferated the market.

The kitchen has stainless steel shining over granite countertops, all hovering over sparkling hardwoods.

With 2170 square feet, the $574,000 price tag equates to $264 per square foot for the three-bedroom, two and one-half-bath home.

Listed by Lucy Smith, who led the Greater Nashville Association through the Recession during her reign as president, the house sold quickly.

Victoria Anest with Keller Williams may have had one of those “I am not going to pay asking price” clients, as they paid $574,000 for the house listed for $575,000.

Anest represents homes, new and old, throughout the city.

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