Nashville finally feels housing decline

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at 1:44am

Nashville’s residential real estate agents are feeling the slowdown in home sales.

The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors has had to report yet another down month in sales.

Nashville-area home sales dropped about 19.5 percent in November compared to last November as the market continues to feel pressure from a national decline in the housing industry driven by the subprime mortgage mess.

For the year, the association reported that sales of single-family homes are off more than 16 percent. With 2006 being the peak year, sales for this year could end up between 2003 and 2004 for sales of single-family homes and condominiums.

“It’s not a record-setting year,” said Richard Courtney, who is in his final days as president of the GNAR. “But it’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s really a healthy market.”

Courtney pointed out that interest rates are the lowest they have been for about two-and-a-half years. The difference is it’s not as easy to get the loans, he said.

Last month, 1,747 single-family homes were sold, compared to 2,256 last November. Condo sales came in at 361, one better than a year ago. For the year, the sale of single-family homes and condos total 29,193 — more than 4,800 lower than last year.

The median price has been declining since a peak of $196,000 in June, settling at $179,900 last month. That price is lower than last November but is in line with the average for this year and last. Condo median prices rose from $159,900 to $167,035.

Prices holding steady is one bright spot. Another bright spot is sales of condominiums are ahead of last year. Projects like Bristol West End and Adelicia and others have been closing sales on units, which helps drive the numbers. Though ahead of last year’s sales, condo sales would have to post a strong December to surpass 2006 numbers.

The average time on the market increased in November with 73 days, the high end of the range that bottomed at 64 days in August. The lowest average during the boom came in at 56 days last year.

Of course, sellers have sold houses in days or even hours and agents in hot areas got accustomed to that. Now the agents talk about the time it is taking. Still, by comparison, the time on the market has a way to go to get to the 90-plus days of three and four years ago.

Brian Taylor, managing broker for Prudential Woodmont Realty’s Nashville office, said it is more important to educate sellers in how to price a house on the front end so it sells instead of establishing a price and lowering after sitting for three months.

“We don’t have the 25 percent premium on housing like we did a year ago,” Taylor said.

He said if it’s not priced right, it won’t sell. “I think there are a lot of buyers on the fence looking for a deal,” he said.

Filed under: City Business
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By: Muzhik on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Thank you, sir, for reporting the facts. The Tennessean decided to write fiction about housing in their issue today reporting that housing prices are up???????

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The housing market has been in the doldrums in Nashville since July at the latest. Richard Courtney did a fantastic PR job covering up this up with his articles.

By: nashbeck on 12/31/69 at 6:00

why is it that Richard Lawson's articles are always, always negative?

By: jasonweaver on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Nashbeck... How do you make dropping numbers look positive?

By: chakracon on 12/31/69 at 6:00

THANK YOU FOR THAT BLINDING FLASH OF THE OBVIOUS

By: Vandy1975 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

When the plumbing is backed up there's only so much air freshener a person can spray before the stink becomes apparent to even the most oblivious of guests.

By: theplantsman on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Hey, why are you complaining? If there is stagnation, there is opportunity. I hope that the Feds will keep their cotton-picking hands off the mortgage industry. Because in this market correction there will be many foreclosures and that is the reward for those that live within their means to increase their wealth. One mans foreclosure is another mans rental property.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

“We don’t have the 25 percent premium on housing like we did a year ago,” Taylor said.Guess we have or are approching our capacity for illegals.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Beck, they're not. He's obviously just learning how to write. This story is better than his past ones.Plants, it's not all rosy, but I agree w/ you that much of this is a corrective. States need to watch for sleazy selling practices, though.

By: jasonweaver on 12/31/69 at 6:00

MJB do you think the writer is new? The guy's been around Nashville for awhile. You have an interesting measuring stick for what defines good writing.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well, Jason, I don't recall reading any of his stories here before, say, a month ago. How long has he written for THE CITY PAPER?By the way, I didn't say that this was good writing. I said that it was better than his past articles. YOU need to read more closely, man.

By: jasonweaver on 12/31/69 at 6:00

He just joined the paper but has been in journalism around here for about a dozen years, NashvillePost, Tennessean, NBJ. He kicked everybody's butt on Preds stories. That's what I meant about past stories because his past goes well beyond the city paper. He's generally thought of as the best business journalist in town, has for many years. So that's why your comments struck me. And I did read closely and still say you have an interesting measuring stick for what defines good writing. Who do you think is a good writer?

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Off the top of my head, the only good local newspaper writers I can think of are Dana Pride (who covered education for the BANNER) & Christine Kreyling (who writes about city planning for the SCENE).The SCENE had a good writer about music a few years ago--Levine was his name? I don't know whether he's still there.Richard Lawson wrote a story about the Predators a couple of weeks ago that was dreadful. It was like reading a press release.

By: jasonweaver on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Hmmm ... Well now I know where you stand on things and to take your comments regarding his writing with a grain of salt. I think Kreyling is particularly awful. She tries to hard to show how smart she thinks she is. Much of the stuff she writes is so uppity it's not worth reading.