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VOL. 36 | NO. 26 | Friday, June 29, 2012

Will heat wave deliver big chill to home sales?

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It’s hot as blazes, and the weather is a factor in real estate sales.

As the market began to falter in the winter of 2007, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors declared that the slump in home sales could be attributed to the frigid weather in parts of the country. He was nearly laughed out of office by the cynics who delighted in the decline of real estate sales and values. These people also are known as renters.

But in part, at least, the weather is a portion of the equation. The winter in question was especially brutal with snow drifts of more than eight feet in some areas. The home-buying process can be somewhat hampered when buyers are unable to leave their houses.

Nashville also is a weather-driven market and has been for years as the city enjoys a spring market followed by summer hibernation during the sweltering heat and unbearable humidity. Then, after the parents get their children settled into schools each fall, the market rebounds, usually stronger that the spring. That is until the weather changes and temperatures drop. Then home sales drop.

With the inventory of properties for sale being as low as it is, along with the temperatures climbing past 100 degrees, the market appears to be slowing somewhat. With pending sales up more than 25 percent, this slowdown will not show itself until August and, even then, should surpass Augusts of the recent past.

Buyers, sellers, even Realtors often vacation in July and August, contributing to the slowdown. However, the heat and humidity can play into the hands of those interested in selling their homes. As mentioned, the inventory is low and, consequently, there is less competition. Casual shoppers are eliminated and useless showings diminish as only serious buyers brave nature’s forces in their quests for home ownership.

On the Realtor side, the season provides opportunities for advertising as most of the competition is strolling beaches, canyons and mountaintops.

Sales of the Week

On the northern side of Charlotte Avenue, buyers are discovering Historic West Town, or Historic West Nashville. It was formerly known as “The Nations,” a pejorative that has escaped the memories of hordes of buyers flocking into the area, The neighborhood is burgeoning.

Like neighbor Sylvan Park, the streets boast the names of states, not countries, so “Nations” has always been a misnomer. 5102 Kentucky was listed by Linda Earwood with Bob Parks Real Estate and sold for $245,000 by Jonathan Harris of Fridrich and Clark Realty.

The house was newly constructed on a lot that had been purchased in February for $35,000. The previous owner of the lot had paid $69,000 in 2006 at the peak of the Nashville market. So, this builder acquired the property at the right price and evidently tarried not as the house closed only four months after the purchase of the lot.

The home had 1,780 square feet with three bedrooms and two baths and included all the popular amenities such as stainless steel appliances, granite tops, hardwood floors, wonderfully detailed trim work and moldings. As Linda Earwood wrote, “vintage style corbels really enhance the exterior.” From the photos, the corbels are some of the best in the county.

The second sale of the week is 5300 Louisiana with a duplex transformed into single-family home. The new version was listed by GNAR Rookie of the Year Alicia Griffith of the Wilson Group, a leading firm in the rejuvenation of the Historic West Town. The Wilson Group’s founder, the late Hal Wilson, is credited with dubbing the undeveloped area adjacent to Sylvan with the name of Sylvan Heights, thereby elevating its stature and values. Apparently the Wilson gene pool is rife with monikers as Historic West Town emanated from the group now led by Hal’s daughter, Christie Wilson.

Tony McKay, also of the Wilson Group, delivered the buyer to the four-bedroom home with 1,763 square feet in this Louisiana purchase that occurred in 2010 with the duplex going for $62,000. The single-family model of this home was renovated and boasts hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances in its open plan with tons of natural light and more tile the bathroom than in the basement of the Hermitage Hotel.

The same houses would have sold for $350,000+ across Charlotte. The area sounds like a much different war zone with the firing of hammer guns echoing through the streets. Renovators and rehabbers have overtaken the land. There are good times ahead for Historic West Town. What will the Wilsons think of next?

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with French, Christianson, Patterson, and Associates.

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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