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VOL. 36 | NO. 5 | Friday, February 3, 2012




No rest for shoppers in hot winter market

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Traditionally, Nashville’s residential real estate market experiences two distinct selling seasons – spring and fall. It is during these times that prices and transactions have increased, and in most years the data points to significant growth during these periods.

Prior to 2002, the spring market began when the dogwoods bloomed. It was then the landscape filled with color, and the aroma of fresh mulch filled the air. Beginning in 2003, the market, impatient and tired of the winter hibernation, began in early March. Since that time, it has slowly crept into late February, even in the last few years of reduced sales.

It is peculiar and is inexplicable, but January is always a month of increased activity as if the market had made a New Year’s resolution to purchase homes. But, this year is different. It’s difficult to locate a Realtor that isn’t slammed.

Anecdotally, the activity is in the 2005-2006 range. The January flurry is a full-blown blizzard. Most sellers ask the advice of their Realtors as to when would be the best time to sell. Good, veteran agents will contend that they cannot predict the future, but they can rely on historical sales data and use their working knowledge of the current market.

With the buyers scurrying about valleys, dales, gulches and towering condos, waiting for spring may be a mistake. Based on the transaction volume being processed by lenders and real estate firms, it is likely that sales will be up more than 20 percent in January of this year as compared to last year. February is looking as strong.

As the Nashville area had joined the nation, actually the world, in difficult financial times, most modern-day buyers are accustomed to enjoying a buyer’s market in which they can dictate price and terms, and take their time as there has been to need for expeditious action.

“I think I’ll sleep on it,” many say. In this market, slumber should be reserved for beds, comfy couches, maybe even a nice hammock, not a real estate transaction. With the buyer-friendly inspection clause of the Tennessee Association of Realtors contract, a person can negotiate a purchase and get the home under contract. At least then it’s theirs to lose.

It’s easier for a person to sleep when they have their dream home under contract and are exercising due diligence during consciousness, rather than awakening ala Rip Van Winkle to learn that your spouse’s favorite home ever was purchased by an insomniac. Get the house under contract, then relax.

Another bad habit that pervades buyer’s markets is the determination to see everything that is on the market or that will enter the market within the next 10 to 12 years. Buyers should not be concerned if they find a wonderful property for sale the first day of looking. By the same token, as a large portion of the selling population is awaiting the dogwood blossom before placing the house for sale, the buyer should not be discouraged if the first few days yield no fruit.

Most of the homes on the market during the winter have accumulated a few “days on market,” and the number of vacant homes in inventory is astounding. These could be bargains or, perhaps, dare I say it, the deal of a lifetime.

With 30-year fixed interest rates hovering at 3.87 percent and prices at near all-time lows, but rising, there will be many fireside stories in the next few years.

“Well, we bought in early 2011 and got this house for half of what it’s worth now. And, you’ll never believe this; our interest rate was less that 4 percent.”

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Pilkerton Realtors and the co-author of Come Together:The Business Wisdom of the Beatles. He can be reached at Richard@richardcourtney.com.

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TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0