Is housing market really safer?

Friday, February 1, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 5

Is there another housing crash on the horizon? Nashville area home sales hit 40,000 in 2017 and 39,514 in 2018. The last time Nashville home sales hit 40,000 was 2006, right before the Great Recession.

Local real estate professionals say things are different this time, however.

“In my opinion, the market is in no way similar,” says Steve Condurelis, a real estate broker and co-owner of KW Market Centers in Middle Tennessee.

“As agents, back in 2006, we were begging lenders to stop lending to anyone that could fog a mirror. At that point, lenders were in fierce competition for loans. Unfortunately, underwriting was almost nonexistent. Low-documentation or no-documentation loans were everywhere. It was obvious to us that it was unsustainable.

“Today’s lenders are an entirely new group. It’s certainly not as conservative as it used to be. One hundred percent loan to value loans are reappearing once again, but not like back then.”

Maryland transplant and retired real estate executive John Heithaus doesn’t think the current housing situation is similar to the pre-recession environment for much the same reason.

“The real problem was the loans made to people who weren’t qualified to buy,” he says.

“Nowadays, local banks in Middle Tennessee know the people they lend to. They’re a little more conservative, as opposed to national lenders that didn’t have personal connections with borrowers.

-- Kathy Carlson