‘Do Nothing Congress’ actually did something

Friday, July 22, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 30

With the political conventions starting this week, expect to be told repeatedly how dire our situation is and how fantastic things are – often by the same politician. In Nashville, things are good.

Local government continues to support, partner and initiate real estate incentives. State government seems to favor the rural communities over those urban, and that is understandable since a majority of those in office represent non-urban constituencies.

That doesn’t reduce the frustration level for those who dwell in the cities, but politics is politics, and so it goes.

And then there is the federal level, where records continue to be broken for doing nothing. In the later 1940s, Harry Truman had dubbed the 80th Congress as “The Do Nothing Congress,” but this group is shattering their record.

Earlier this year, there were a few post offices named. It’s been that way for years now. This has been going on for so long that after Andrew Jackson had David Crockett defeated in his re-election to the House of Representatives, Crockett famously announced “You may all go to Hell and I will go to Texas.”

We know how that worked out for the 50-year-old Crockett, so I would not recommend that.

While it seems that no news has been good news from the current version of the “Do Nothing Congress,” Realtors were happy with the passage of the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act,” which the Senate passed by unanimous consent.

This bill makes FHA’s recertification process “substantially less burdensome,” according to the National Association of Realtors. In addition, it lowers FHA current 50 percent owner/occupancy requirement to 35 percent. This will increase opportunities for “low-to-moderate income homebuyers,” according to NAR.

So, in a year when nothing is passing, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” passes unanimously in both houses. Some bills do that, while others can’t get to the floor.

There was a certain political science professor, Gil Gilchrist, at the University of the South, who had two pet peeves. One was that many referred to members of the House of Representatives as Congressmen, which they are, and to those in the other House as Senators. He knew people who thought there was the Congress and the Senate, not two houses of Congress – the House and the Senate. It bugged him.

His other source of irritation was with the pronunciation of the word gerrymandering. Gerrymandering should be pronounced with a hard G for it originated when the governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry (pronounced like Gary, as in Gary Shandling) redrew the state senate election districts to benefit his party, the Democratic Republicans.

Therefore, if you want people to think you are daffy, pronounce gerrymandering with a hard g and inform those that scoff at you that the person who initiated the term was a member of the Democratic-Republican party. And that was in 1812. Crockett was killed in 1836.

All of this affects real estate because of the old consumer confidence thing. People buy houses then they feel good about things. I don’t look for too much happiness and joy between now and November.

So, remember the Alamo. No, don’t. Remember something happy.

Sale of the Week

The houses continue to fly off of the shelf (listings?) in Rivendell Woods, near where bell Road and Old Hickory Boulevard devour each other.

Recently, 5647 Hickory Park Drive sold for $215,000 just moments after Julie Casassa with Zeitlin and Company, Realtors listed it for $209,900. With its vaulted ceiling, fireplace and 2,042 square feet, it sold for $105 per square foot.

Closer to downtown, the Adelicia and 1212 condominium could sell for up to $575 per square foot, even without yards or two and a-half baths.

Many find this market impossible to comprehend. More food for consternation.

The sellers of this property paid $189,990 in 2008. They might have made $10,000 after closing costs.

Downtown, a $189,990 investment in 2008 would have made $200,000.

The Hickory Park home allowed its owner two extra bedrooms, the aforementioned fireplace, a 20- by-21-foot rec room, extra one and a-half bathrooms and it backs up to a wooded, secluded area rather than an asphalt jungle.

Mylinh Behaylo of Realty of America delivered the buyer who obviously won the bidding war. Mylinh presented a wonderfully clean offer and has won a few of these battles.

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