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VOL. 39 | NO. 9 | Friday, February 27, 2015

Mayor’s race exposes unpleasant problems

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In six weeks or so, the Greater Nashville area will learn what a snowmegeddon can do to area home sales.

With a quarter of the month frozen, it was hard for buyers to let it go and embark upon a house hunt. March closings, reflecting February sales, will be released in early April and might slow the freight train that the residential real estate has been riding for almost three years.

One factor that could have people re-thinking our “It City” status is the mayor’s race. After hearing the candidates spar and forum attendees raise issues, a new awareness of the city’s shortcomings is coming into focus.

There is no rapid transit, only buses. With the exception of the Music City Star, which reaches east to Lebanon Monday-Friday, mass transit to surrounding counties is by bus and limited.

The public school system, while improving, can beat the socks off of those in Memphis, Mississippi and Alabama, but that’s about as far as it goes for most schools in Metro.

Affordable, workforce housing has, for the most part, evaporated.

With a few thousand people relocating here each month, all of these conditions are exacerbated with more cars on the road, more pupils in classrooms and more employers requiring workers in service industries.

Other than that, things are going swimmingly.

We have managed all of the goodness while experiencing a Great Recession, and even greater flood and some near-disastrous Metro Council bills (“English only” comes to mind).

We’ve missed on Insure Tennessee and hit on the Music City Center, which is now flourishing.

The warmer weather usually breeds a hotter housing market, and the mayoral candidates will no doubt have their share of heated debates as spring spawns summer.

Inventory seems to be improving, as there are more houses coming on the market than any February in memory. While most are being devoured immediately, some wade into the teens as far as days on the market and, as you will read in the “Sale of the Week” section below, there are some reasonably priced homes in much sought after areas being sold. Well, at least one.

The music scene is expanding exponentially rates, and the city has more culinary options than any time in its history. Following the meal, listening rooms offer pop, rock, Americana, hip hop and, of course, country.

The Titans finished the season in last place, and the Predators are in first place, so there is diversity among the professional sports. And don’t forget Dean’s dream, the new Nashville Sounds baseball stadium.

Perhaps the Dickensian, “best of times, worst of times” once again proves its literary immortality.

Sale of the Week

Who says there are no deals to be reaped these days? How about a home less than $300,000 in Green Hills? 1802 Warfield Drive sold last week for $291,000 after spending a lonely 119 days on the market.

The venerable Edith Johnston, a longtime veteran of real estate wars now with Fridrich and Clark Realty in Brentwood, listed the house for $344,900 and then reduced it to $329,900 before Jason Kleve of Reliant Realty delivered the cash buyer at $291,000.

Johnston described the house as having “hardwoods, energy efficient windows, and a fireplace in the living room that opens into the dining room, and a covered patio.” She included such phrases as “possible owner terms” and “lease purchase.” Those five words are blood in the water for the real estate sharks swimming in cash.

This house has 1,399 square feet, so in spite of the price commanded $208 per square foot. This is an example of the downzoning appeasing the neighbors and negatively affecting the property owner, as this lot is zoned for single family. In short, only one house can be built there.

If the owner had the opportunity, as many did, to have opted out of the downzoning, he would have been able to sell the house for $450,000, so zoning cost the owner more than $150,000.

So someone bought one of the least-expensive houses in a desirable location, and only one house can be built there, ever.

This presented a tremendous opportunity for the buyer, and neighbors with no plans of selling are tickled.

This seller lost money, having bought in 2007 for $348,700, but the current owners’ ship will rise with the area’s appreciating tide. One owner’s loss, another owner’s gain.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0