It’s not a slump if you’re still hitting home runs

Friday, September 21, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 38

There are hundreds, maybe even a few thousand people migrating here from the Northeast as a result of the new federal tax law limiting deductions on property taxes to $10,000 and mortgages to $1 million.

Since both mortgages and property taxes are usually higher in that region, the new rules affect what homeowners can deduct from their taxes, often as much as 50 percent.

With more on the way from the North and continued interest from California, the influx should allow for another strong fall market in Middle Tennessee. While unit sales are slightly less than last year, it should be noted that last year was a historic year for real estate.

In 1927, Babe Ruth hit a record-setting 60 home runs in a 154-game season. The following season he hit 54 to once again lead the league, and no one thought his bubble had burst.

Interestingly, when the Bambino ushered in the home run era in 1917, he led the league with 11 home runs. He hit 54 in 1920 and 59 in 1921.

Nashville house sales are following a similar track as the Sultan of Swat. We are not likely to see 2018 sales for a few years, but the number should hover around the record-setting number until the next Great Recession.

Several big-wig financial people see another depression coming, their advertisements show. They have predicted the fall for five or six years and missed their mark. If they can afford to run the ads long enough, they could hit.

Another political issue should play well for the Nashville housing market as several hospitals, some claim 11, are closing as a result of the refusal of the state legislature to expand Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee bill to expand Medicare.

As hospitals close, doctors, nurses and hospital administrators leave the area, and 15 of the 21 western counties are losing population. They are headed to the cities, and Nashville is winning the race with its competition.

Having gone from federal to state political issues, one problem Nashville politicians will have to solve is traffic.

While those who have lived in the area for years bemoan the situation, some finding it intolerable, that is not the case with the newcomers. Many coming from the North ride trains for and hour or more to work every day, and those coming from the West are leaving infamous traffic jams.

Others who are moving because their small towns are evaporating consider the traffic a good trade for accessibility to education, hospitals and health care.

As the Temptations and later Rare Earth once sang “Get ready ’cause here I come. I’m on my way.”

They are.

Sale of the Week

Listing agent Mary Barbee Weiss of Fridrich and Clark Realty describes the home at 1614 Forrest Avenue as “a delightful jewel on one of East Nashville’s most coveted streets.”

It took three days to finalize negotiations on this home, which was built in 1918 thereby qualifying it for Weiss’s description: “This centenarian offers an updated kitchen and bath while celebrating originality with its pocket doors and its light-filled windows with decorative wood transoms.”

There are only a few 100-year-old houses standing in Nashville, and an even smaller number would know they are centenarians. Most simply think they are old houses.

With Mary Barbee Weiss’s passion for real estate, architecture and history, it is not surprising to find such a description. She has been around almost every block in Nashville during her storied career.

Nor is it surprising that Justin Floyd of Crye-Leike discovered the gem and delivered an appreciative buyer for the historic home with an unhistoric water heater, circa 2016. The ancient water lines were replaced in 2015, as was the electrical panel. Age is not always a good thing.

With three bedrooms and two baths scattered about its 2,028 square feet, the $525,000 price tag fetched a respectable $259 per square foot for the property, which sold for $299,000 in 2014 with older water lines, electrical panel, HVAC and water heater.

Hopefully, the 2014 buyer saw the renovations were needed.

Buyers are often curious about which renovations add value to a house. None of the above-mentioned features would add value, although it may help the Forrest house sell before a similar house in need of system updates.

Buyers expect houses to have safe electrical wiring, unclogged water lines, functioning HVAC systems and roofs free of leaks. As was mentioned a few weeks ago, a home lacking any of these will be punished and thrice beaten.

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