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VOL. 41 | NO. 11 | Friday, March 17, 2017

Are proposed Airbnb rules lifting multi-family home sales?

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Nashville-area home sales increased by 9.3 percent in February compared to the same period in 2016, Greater Nashville Realtors statistics show.

While many who follow the real estate market have filed this in the “ho hum” folder, it is worthy of attention.

Granted the warm weather has helped move things along. Statistics show people do not buy houses when it is cold.

Having skipped winter, the area has found itself in the middle of the spring market during a time when Nashvillians are usually taking to the local frozen slopes. Even with no snow, schools are often closed fearing flurries will turn to blizzards. It’s good for bread and milk sales, but having junior home kills real estate sales.

Scott Troxel, the erudite president of the Greater Nashville Realtors, says “Spring is in the air and in the real estate market.” He predicts “recent announcements regarding economic growth from companies like Mars Petcare, LG and SmileDirect will only continue to drive our market upward.”

Troxel also cites the largest growth last month was in multi-family units with 39 sales of in that category last month compared to only 18 in February 2016.

Perhaps ideas being bandied about concerning Airbnbs have stirred the multifamily market. There is talk that multifamily units may be excluded from the restrictions.

Whatever the cause, there have been 58 multi-family properties closed this year, compared to 33 at this time last year.

Of note is that last year’s sales ranged from $77,000 to $205,000, while this year’s sales were from $95,000 to $600,000 with 16 sales of more than $205,000.

With 2,899 pending sales at the month’s end, March will reflect another substantial increase in home sales. There were only 2,735 sales pending last February.

And there appears to be no end in sight, based on comments by Ralph Schulz, president and CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Schulz, speaking to a group of Realtors, stated his staff has computed that the Nashville area is growing by a net of 74 people each day. And more are on the way, he adds, with 92 companies in the pipeline making plans that fall into one of two categories:

-- Currently located here but planning significant expansion

-- Relocating to Nashville

Once again, that traffic monster rears its ugly head. Yet, more and more Realtors are reporting that they are seeing numerous people moving into town who do not own cars and are not anticipating buying one.

Perhaps the cranes hovering over the downtown/Midtown area will recruit more employees who live, work and play in walkable areas.

If we can arrange for the people leaving town to take their cars with them and the newcomers to venture into the city in a carless state, this thing may resolve itself.

Sale of the Week

Harpeth Trace, a development that first saw the light of day in the mid-1980s, is located across Highway 100 from Edwin Warner Park. The neighborhood could be a park itself as the residences are built in an around the forestation and wildlife on the hilly, near-mountainous terrain.

The compound consists of a high-rise building, some standalone single family homes, several houses that are connected to one other and a number of more conventional townhouse condominiums.

Last week, 737 Harpeth Trace Drive sold for $256,000 after resting on the market for 37 days.

The home had been listed by Marc DeFeo of PARKS for $259,900, who described the condo as “having the feeling of mountains with the convenience of city living,” adding the unit includes “bamboo hardwood floors, a barn-wood accent wall and stainless steel appliances.”

With the popularity of barn wood in residences, there must be thousands of farm animals seeking shelter and farmers scratching their heads. Just when the crop circle craze finally dies down, people start making off with the barn wood.

With its 1,784 square feet, Bonnie McNichols, also of PARKS, sold the house to her buyer for $143 per square foot. This phase of Harpeth Trace has carports for two vehicles, two bedrooms, two full baths and one half bath.

As usual, Marc DeFeo did his client well. The owner had purchased the condo in December of 2014 for $190,000.

Tax records show the buyer was able to finance an inordinately large amount of the purchase price. After closing costs, the seller should have realized a $50,000 return on an investment of less than $4,000 plus closing costs.

And, for now, there is a mortgage interest deduction in the tax code. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

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