VA loans mount comeback; August sales in slight retreat

Friday, September 17, 2021, Vol. 45, No. 38

There was a time when there were fewer veterans than there are now, and Veterans’ Administration loans had seemingly faded away.

With the 20 years of fighting in and around Iraq and Afghanistan, there have been tens of thousands of men and women serving our country, and the number of veterans eligible for VA loans has skyrocketed.

As property values continued to increase, VA loans with their lower loan limits neared extinction, yet recently they have made a significant comeback, especially in the Nashville market.

One segment of the market that is capitalizing on VA loans is the medical field, as more and more doctors who have earned their VA eligibility are cashing in on the opportunity to utilize the expanded loan limits.

Last week, one doctor bought a home for $1.85 million and borrowed in excess of $1.7 million at 2.385%, as there is no cap on the loan amount as long as the buyer has the income to repay the loan. These loans are a well-deserved benefit for those that sacrifice.

August Sales Numbers

Last month, there were 4,288 home closings, a number that would have astonished the real estate world three years ago. This year, however, it reflects a 2% drop from August 2020 when there were 92 more closings. The numbers are off only 26 sales from last month, and August has always proven to be a slow month.

This year, there also is a lack of inventory. There were 8,459 homes available last August and 5,246 in 2021.

“With the stock being low throughout June and July, August’s numbers are feeling the brunt of that shortage,” says Greater Nashville Realtors president Brian Copeland. “In fact, it is difficult to understand how inventory could drop 3,213 units and sales would only fall by 92 transactions.”

The September numbers will reflect more of the same as pending sales declined to 3,628 at the end of August as compared with 4,220 last August. Prices remain on the rise with single-family homes increasing from a median price of $346,172 in 2020 to $415,000 in 2021.

Condominiums rose from a median price of $242,500 last year to $290,400 this year.

Regardless, sales remain at a fever pitch, and 2021 will break all sales records for the area. With more businesses relocating to the area and continued organic growth, this will repeat itself for as long as the interest rates remain at less than 4%.

Sale of the Week

Caleb Gamblin is a successful Realtor at Parks, an understandable condition based on the fact that he hails from Philadelphia. Nashville and Philadelphia are similar markets, as both are located in close proximity to rural communities and both are laced with southern culture.

5898 E Ashland Dr

Even with the similarities, relocating from Philadelphia to Nashville could be somewhat intimidating were it not for the fact that he attended college at Mississippi State University before his move. While Starkville is best known for its college, Philadelphia is well known for being the hometown of Caleb Gamblin and other notable residents such as Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon, Nashville favorite son Marty Stuart and misguided football great Marcus Dupree.

All of these from a town barely reaching 7,500 in population. Yes, Philadelphia, Mississippi, is a place many Mississippians hold close to their hearts, and Gamblin was one of the city’s finest. But like Stuart, Gamblen is better known for his work in Nashville than mountain of achievements the duo accomplished separately in Philadelphia.

One of his greatest feats occurred last week when Gamblin listed and sold 5898 East Ashland Drive for $2.129 million. Selling for $565 per square foot, the 4,402-square-foot house includes five bedrooms and four full bathrooms along with a large saltwater pool with an attached hot tub.

Brandon Verner is not from Philadelphia, neither one of the Phillies, but he enjoys their sandwiches and has dined all over the world working with Servant Group International on their missions to place such as Northern Africa and Northern Iraq.

During his time in Iraq, he worked with various Kurdish groups opening local Christian churches for English-speaking people. One of the dying breed of Nashville natives, Verner has enjoyed his real estate career and helping his friends find appropriate shelter, at times for more than $2 million.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Fridrich and Clark Realty, LLC, and can be reached at