Burton Hills good example of local real estate realities

Friday, October 13, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 41

“To burst or not to burst?” That is the question. Most feel it is not an if, but a when. Some of those new to town have only witnessed the recent wildness, but there has been wildness in the Nashville wilderness before. In general, however, there has always been steady health growth in the Nashville real estate market.

A trip to the Cherry Glen section of Burton Hills might prove helpful in explaining non-boom Nashville real estate. Burton Hills was the old Burton farm, once the home of Amy Grant’s grandfather. It also has hills, which explains the name.

The property was for years the envy of local developers with its vast, rolling, lush acreage spread across the hills on Hillsboro Road. The Burtons deeded the property to David Lipscomb College – now University – and the school sold it to developers.

Rich in history, the property was once 750 acres and home to a large home. During the battle of Nashville, the original structure on the property was used as a hospital that attended the wounded troops from both armies.

Once it was sold, the country fell upon tough financial times as the recession of 1981-82 gripped the nation, bringing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Several out-of-state developers were unable to see their projects through, and development slowed considerably until things improved thanks, in part, to lenders creating affordable financing, including the inception of adjustable rate financing, as interest rates – even for mortgages – were in the 18 percent range.

With an ARM, a buyer could often finagle a rate as low as 12 percent, and the real estate business began to turn.

Things were going well in 1986 and 1987 when most of Burton Hills was developed, but Congress decided that the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was a good idea. In 1989-90, the real estate market crumbled, aided by the collapse of the savings and loans. During that crisis, 1,043 out of 3,234 savings and loans closed, and the Resolution Trust Corporation was formed. Another 747 savings and loans closed, including some of Nashville’s most esteemed institutions.

With the troubles in the early 1980s, late 1980s and early 1990s, Burton Hills had ridden a financial roller coaster. In 1996, there remained an undeveloped subdivision within Burton Hills that would be acquired by the two of Nashville’s most successful developers, Spiva and Hill and the Gianikas group. It became Cherry Glen.

Soon Nashville was figuratively afire, and those two groups sold to David Weekly homes. The home at 920 Cherry Plum Court was built in 1997, and the 2,626-square-foot residence sold for $265,000.

Burton Hills and Cherry Glen consist of traditional homes in a desirable location, close to the coveted Julia Green Elementary School that feeds John Trotwood Moore and Hillsboro High School with its International Baccalaureate program, as well as the Green Hills Mall, the library and a traffic pattern that allows travelers the time to absorb the surrounding as they crawl through the area.

There has been no new residential development there in years, and both the townhouses and single-family homes are in keeping with their era and appreciate in a manner indicative of a normal Nashville real estate market.

After selling in 1997 for $265,000, the house sold to Kimmo Timonen, a crowd favorite with the Nashville Predators. If nothing else, it was fun to hear the announcer scream his name. He also was quite good.

As is the case with professional athletes, certain conditions are out of their hands. With Timonen, timing was everything, and he sold his house in 2003, just before the lockout in 2004.

In 2004, he went to Finland to play for the national team but returning to the Preds, becoming their captain and setting career highs for assists and total points. With his stock high, he was traded.

He managed to come out well in his real estate, buying for $312,500 and selling for $328,000 three years later. The person who bought the home for $328,000 sold seven years later in 2010 for $400,000, and that was a tough time in Nashville real estate. That sale showed that even during downturns real estate in prime Nashville locations does not suffer as badly as other areas.

The person who bought the Cherry Plum Court home in 2010 for $400,000 sold it last week, seven years later – the seven-year itch, same as the previous seller – for $530,000.

By 2017, the house had 20 years of age and needed new HVAC, windows, roof, patio and water heater, and the listing agent, Jane Wilson Venn, brilliantly made all aware of the upgrades, which she noted totaled $60,000.

If $60,000 totaled all the expenditures of the house, the owner still netted $470,000 on a house he had bought for $400,000 seven years prior.

Scott Hardesty, well known for his buyer representation, delivered yet another buyer to this property, and that buyer will not have to spend a penny when he sells in seven years.

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