Making sense of Midstate’s record real estate numbers

Friday, January 19, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 3

The Nashville area set a new record for home sales in 2017 with 40,482, Greater Nashville Realtors statistics show, a number so strong it might have evoked a “Whoa Nelly!” from revered and now-departed sportscaster Keith Jackson.

Yet, a closer look inside the numbers are befitting Jackson’s other famous phrase: “Hold the phone!”

The data reported by the Realtors represents the Middle Tennessee area, as the Greater Nashville Realtors have members scattered across the land and the Middle Tennessee Regional Multiple Listing Services, also known as Realtracs, is regional as its name suggests.

Many Nashville Realtors had felt that the pace had been slowing, mostly from lack of inventory.

Yet, the sales numbers point to the contrary.

Even though the real estate community posted a strong December effort to defeat the 2006 number of sales with 3,246 transactions, that number is a 1 percent decrease compared to December 2016.

Performing in a manner similar to this year’s Tennessee Titans, who performed well early yet barely eked their way into the playoffs, the Realtors scored early and often in 2016 and then coasted to the record performance even though the December sales fell short of last year’s December total.

For the fourth quarter, sales were up a slight 1.1 percent.

And now for the “Hold the phone” numbers: Is the growth in Davidson County or the outlying areas?

Upon further review, the ruling on the area stands, at least for Nashville. In Davidson County in 2006, there were 6,032 single-family properties and 1,375 condominiums sold.

Additionally, 262 multi-family dwellings and 79 lots sold for a total of 7,758 properties in Davidson County, according to Realtracs.

In 2017, there were 2,591 condominiums and 9,950 single family homes moved sold.

Certainly, the 331 lots that sold buried the 2006 number of 79, and the multi-family sales of 331 surpassed the 2006 sales of 79 lots.

That’s 14,034 total sales in 2017 compared to 7,758.

And another “Hold the phone” comment is appropriate: With 2,471 pending sales looming, the record could be a one and done as there were only 2,209 pending at this time last year.

Sale of the Week

The house at 4553 Winfield Drive sold last week for $444,000, a mere $112 per square foot for a 3,915-square-foot home on a quarter-acre lot. For the same money, a person could have an 800-square foot condominium in the Gulch.

Winfield Drive is in Winfield Park off Edmondson Pike, near Holt Road. This four-bedroom home – compared to two bedrooms in the hypothetical Gulch condo – also has three full baths and a half bath. The master bedroom is on the first floor and has spacious closets.

Overlooking the neighborhood pond, the home was listed by Leo Bermudez, one of Village Real Estate Services’ finest, who sold the residence in 15 days. Thanks to the diligence of Kevin Smith of Bradford Real Estate, the home closed in only 22 days after going to contract and that was with Christmas and New Year’s Day in the mix.

In lending circles, 45 days is the new 30 days to close. The extra 15 days are due to some regulations that remain, along with the fact that the inspectors and appraisers are overloaded and difficult to schedule in a timely manner.

Many lenders await the completion of the inspection and its negotiations prior to moving the process forward, a wise move on their behalf.

As more and more houses are failing inspections these days, the lenders do not want to commit the buyers’ money to appraising a home that the buyers may choose not to buy.

Now that home inspectors are licensed and regulated, it takes more time for the busy firms to add competent and licensed inspectors to the mix.

Consequently, the lag time for inspections has grown from 10 days to 14 business, in many cases. With a three to five-day resolution period following that, it can be three weeks before an appraisal is ordered.

Gaining entrée to the appraisal field is even more difficult than inspectors, so the community is greatly understaffed in the appraisal field.

Once again, several weeks are needed to complete the process.

The file does not go to underwriting until the appraisal is in, so there could be as many as six weeks pass before the loan is worked, hence the kudos to Bermudez and Smith.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Associates and can be reached at