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VOL. 37 | NO. 50 | Friday, December 13, 2013

New neighborhoods, new highs in 2013 Middle Tennessee home sales

By Bill Lewis

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New construction is helping transform The Nations – or Historic West Town, as some have rebranded the neighborhood – attracting new families to the area.

-- Lyle Graves | Nashville Ledger

Regan and Jenni Anderson were preparing to move their family from Virginia to Salt Lake City when an unexpected job offer brought them to Nashville’s suburbs.

C.J. and Kristen Witt were looking for an urban lifestyle when they graduated from college in Mississippi and moved to Nashville. Their search for an affordable house near downtown led them to one of the city’s long-overlooked neighborhoods west of downtown where home builders are selling houses faster than they can finish them.

Despite their different lifestyles and neighborhood choices, both couples have something in common. They are among the thousands of people who bought a home in Nashville and its surrounding counties after moving from out of state, somewhere else in Tennessee or even from another nearby neighborhood.

During the first 10 months of this year, more houses had been sold in the region – 26,189 closings – than during all of 2012. There were 26,097 closings in 2012, Greater Nashville Association of Realtors figures show. Another 2,287 closings were reported during November.

Home buyers are moving into suburbs that might have existed only in a developer’s imagination a year or two ago, and into urban neighborhoods on the frontiers of redevelopment that they might never have considered before.

“As people move from out of town, they don’t have imaginary boundaries in their heads,” says John Brittle, broker and director of land sales for Infill Nashville.

He could have been talking about the Witts.

“We saw how other Nashville neighborhoods redeveloped, and now it’s spilling over into our neighborhood,” C.J. Witt says of their home in the Ries-Cockrill neighborhood, located west of White Bridge Road and north of Charlotte Pike and Interstate 24.

The Andersons were looking for a short commute for Regan, whose office is in Hermitage, and good schools for their four children when they bought their house in fast-growing Mt. Juliet, not far from Providence Marketplace.

“We love Mt. Juliet, the convenience of the shopping and the movies,” Jenni says.

Condominiums, like these in Salemtown, single-family homes, restaurants and businesses are popping up throughout the Capitol District, which also includes Germantown, Hope Gardens and Buena Vista.

-- Lyle Graves | Nashville Ledger

The region’s economy is attracting growing numbers of professionals and families like the Andersons, says Melissa Allen, their Realtor.

“We have a diverse business community – music, health care, banking and insurance, colleges and start-ups. Also, our favorable tax rates are a strong pull,” says Allen, part of the Allen Team, Re/Max Choice Properties in Brentwood.

They are the leading edge of a wave of new residents expected to arrive in the region between 2015 and 2040.

During those 25 years, NashvilleNext predicts 200,000 people will move to Nashville and the surrounding counties. The economy is expected to create 300,000 new jobs. NashvilleNext is the process through which the region is planning for that growth.

Urban and suburban neighborhoods are growing across the region. Some, like Spring Hill in southern Williamson County, have been attracting residents for decades.

Others, like Berry Farms, are brand new. The 600-acre development, located on Franklin’s south side, will include several hundred single family houses, townhomes and apartments as well as several million square feet of retail and office space. The first home owners moved in last March.

Additional locations such as the small towns of Thompson’s Station and Nolensville, are experiencing rapid growth for the first time.

Lennar Homes, one of the nation’s largest builders, is preparing to construct more than 700 homes in Thompson’s Station, south of Berry Farms along I-65. Nolensville, located between I-24 and I-65 south of Nashville, has attracted the attention of home builders including Citizens Homes, Goodall Homes, Celebration Homes, the Jones Co., Regent Homes and others.

While overall home sales in the region grew by a sustainable 4 percent in November, Nolensville’s sales were up more than 23 percent. There were 37 sales last month, compared with 30 during November 2012. The average price was $382,835, a 3.1 percent increase over the average of $371,499 a year ago, according to a market survey by Chandler reports.

Sales in Thompson’s Station were more than 64 percent higher, but the average price declined 14.4 percent. There were 28 closings last month for an average price of $244,979. A year ago there were 17 sales for an average price of $285,701.

Midstate residential real estate trends for November 2013

November 2013 real estate trends for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford and Wilson counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

Chandler Reports has been publishing Real Estate Market Data since 1968. That year, Chandler began collecting residential sales information for the Chandler Residential Report, considered the authoritative source for residential real estate sales information. Over the next three decades, the publications have been continually refined, enhanced and expanded, growing to include lot sales data, new residential construction and absorption information, and commercial sales. In 1987, Chandler Reports began one of the first on–line real estate market data services in the country, and is a nationally recognized leader in the industry. In 2004, Chandler Reports was purchased by The Daily News Publishing Co. In 2007, Chandler introduced RegionPlus, including property research for Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Visit online at chandlerreports.com.

Davidson County by Price Range

Davidson County by Zip Code

Williamson County by Price Range

Williamson County by Zip Code

Rutherford County by Price Range

Rutherford County by Zip Code

Wilson County by Price Range

Wilson County by Zip Code

In Mt. Juliet, where the Andersons purchased their home, sales grew much faster than the regional average. There were 132 sales last month, a 37.5 percent increase over the 96 closings in November 2012. Last month’s average price was $280,079, a 28 percent increase over the average of $218,748 a year ago, according to the survey by Chandler Reports.

“I wouldn’t say the market is overheated, but we are selling homes,” says David Hughes, president of Citizens Homes. The company is active in Mt. Juliet and Nolensville as well as Antioch and Hermitage in Nashville.

“Everything is in place for next year,” he says.

In suburban Hermitage on the east side of Nashville, there were 65 home sales in November, a 35.4 percent increase over the 48 sales a year ago. The average price was $191,119, a 23.7 percent increase over November 2012’s average of $154,518.

In Green Hills, there were 48 closings, a 20 percent increase over the 40 sales a year ago. The average price was $663,331, an increase of 67.8 percent over the average of $395,202 in November 2012.

Larger homes are commanding higher prices in Green Hills. The average home grew by nearly 24 percent to 3,177 square feet. The price per square foot increased more than 36 percent to $210, according to Chandler Reports.

Neighborhoods in the city’s core also grew. The Capitol District neighborhoods of Hope Gardens, Buena Vista, Germantown and Salemtown now have some of the most sought-after real estate in the city.

“It’s prime real estate that has been undervalued. And now as Nashville grows so quickly, I believe developers are realizing that,” says Melissa Bootie Adams, a Realtor with Worth Properties.

In the Capitol District’s 37208 zip code, there were 34 sales in November, a 30.8 percent increase over the 26 sales a year ago. The average price was $205,509, an increase of 118.3 percent over last year’s average of $94,149, according to Chandler Reports.

For Travis and Victoria Parker, the Capitol District is an affordable alternative to neighborhoods like 12 South, Sylvan Park and Lockeland Springs where prices are soaring.

They purchased a new home in Salemtown a few blocks from where the new Sounds ballpark will be built.

“Our first reaction (when house hunting) was 12 South. But 12 South is getting pretty pricy. So is East Nashville,” Travis says.

Ariel Development, the company that built their house, has as many as 50 homes under construction or in the planning stages in Salemtown.

The company is part of a group of developers building Salemtown Cottages, a development of 24 detached single-family houses along Rosa Parks Boulevard. Prices start at $269,900.

Couples and individuals in search of affordable prices are crossing imaginary boundaries in other Nashville neighborhoods like Wedgewood-Houston and the Nations, also known as Historic West Town.

Wedgewood-Houston, in the shadow of the state Fairgrounds between Nolensville Pike and Eighth Avenue, is emerging after years of neglect, says Clay Kelton, a Realtor with Pilkerton Realtors.

Residents are attracted by the location near both downtown and 12 South, he says.

“It’s the nearest, affordable location close to the city,” Kelton says.

In the Nations, located north of Sylvan Park, builders are expected to complete at least 100 new homes this year and next. If that happens, the neighborhood will have redeveloped faster than other hot spots like 12 South or Sylvan Park, says Infill Nashville’s Brittle.

“We’ll write books about this before it’s over,” he says.

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