Money from out of town provided a big part of the $25.2 million in economic stimulus represented by July's top 10 home sales in Nashville and surrounding counties — but none of it came from Washington.
Wealthy and accomplished people relocating to Nashville from points east and westward accounted for the top three sales and well over half the total dollars on July's list, fueling a 60 percent rise in the average price per home over June's $1.58 million.
To the extent that activity at the highest reaches of the local housing market can serve as a valid economic indicator, this month's tune seems to be "Happy Days are Here Again."
Yet there is still real pain evident among these sales. One house went for a half-million less than it had cost four years ago. In another case, a bank sold for $300,000 less than it had paid to buy the property at foreclosure. In a third instance, the seller took a $150,000 haircut after owning the home for only two months.
One constant stands out between July 2009 and most of the 18 preceding editions of this column: Folks who can shell out the kind of money it takes to make our list tend to be interesting people. Along with CEOs, other senior corporate types and a physician, we round out the roster with one of the hottest names in country music. Read on to find out who.
Largest single-family home purchases recorded in Davidson and neighboring counties in July 2009, ranked by dollar value:
1. 1078 Vaughn Crest Drive, Franklin, 37064
Buyers: Vicki L. & Rodney B. Mott Sr., as trustees of trusts in their names
Sale price: $6 million
Seller: Charles R. Carroll
Agent for both sides: Bill E. Henson Jr. (Silverpointe Properties)
In the priciest transaction since the debut "Headline Homes" column came out in January 2008, former steel magnate Rod Mott and his wife make their second headliner buy in a year. Their purchase of a $3.4 million home for a family member, also in Williamson County, made the list last December. At the time, Mott told The City Paper that he and his wife liked Middle Tennessee and might move to the area eventually from their home on the South Carolina coast.
Mott was CEO of International Steel Group Inc. when Mittal Steel Co. bought it in 2005, and he took the helm of then-bankrupt Canadian steel producer Stelco Inc. the next year to lead a turnaround effort that culminated in its sale to United States Steel Corp. in 2007. Toronto's Globe and Mail estimated that those two takeovers were worth a total of about $109 million to Mott personally.
The Motts' new digs appear impressive even by the over-the-top standards of the gated Laurelbrooke enclave in which they are situated. In almost 20,600 square feet of living space, according to the property listing, are rooms with dimensions like 40 by 28 and 34 by 18 feet. Apart from all the usual comforts of home, this one includes a full guest suite, a "summer kitchen," a "chef's kitchen," a wine cellar, a theater, a fitness center with sauna and a bowling alley. Outside is a three-tiered, cascading pool.
Carroll, who built and sold Nashville-based Integrated Biometric Technology Inc. some years ago, is now CEO of ASET Corp., based in Dayton, Ohio, where he was once a police officer. ASET's Web site says it helps corporate clients deal with security concerns related to "labor disputes, plant closures, executive protection and workplace violence issues."
He originally listed the home at $7.25 million and had it on the market for almost four months before it went under contract. Williamson County property records show that he bought it for $6.55 million in December 2005.
2. 1228 Canterbury Drive, 37205
Buyer: Little Harpeth LLC (for Richard W. & Andrea Waitt Carlton)
Sale price: $5.25 million
Sellers: David & Mary Catherine McClellan
Agent for both sides: Steve G. Fridrich (Fridrich & Clark Realty)
Rick and Andrea Carlton herald their arrival in Nashville from Santa Fe, N.M. with not one but two big home purchases — see also next item. Rick Carlton has been a successful real estate developer out west. The Carltons will fit right in to Nashville's remarkable tradition of serving as an ATM for Republican politicians nationwide. They have donated some $214,000 to GOP entities and candidates since 2004. They can no doubt expect a call from party über-fundraiser Ted Welch.
Their new Belle Meade home is a showplace. It made the cover of interior design magazine Veranda in 2002, a couple of years after healthcare investor David McClellan and his wife commissioned architectural firm McAlpine Tankersley and designer Landy Gardner to create it. The Mediterranean-style residence features oaken doors and fireplace stone both imported from the English Cotswolds, as well as other materials sourced in Italy, Spain and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
3. 6460 and 6532 Edinburgh Drive, 37221
Buyer: Little Harpeth LLC (for Richard W. & Andrea Waitt Carlton)
Sale price: $2.9 million
Sellers: R. Bryan & Carole C. Easterling; John H. Tunstall
Sellers' agent: Eric & Ria H. Grasman (Fridrich & Clark Realty)
Buyers' agent: Steve G. Fridrich (Fridrich & Clark Realty)
The 52-acre tract the Carltons have purchased along the Little Harpeth River includes a 7,800-square-foot home, along with plenty of room to build an even grander abode, should they be so inclined.
4. 2005 Cromwell Drive, 37215
Buyers: Rafael A. & Karla D. Calderon
Sale price: $1.775 million
Builder/sellers: Kevin D. & Trina M. Montgomery
Sellers' agent: Richard B. French (French Christianson Patterson)
Buyers' agent: Gary Ashton (Re/Max Elite)
Teardowns in the Kingsbury-Cromwell area of Forest Hills, many of whose ranch houses were built in the 1950s and '60s, have been rare to date. But Kevin Montgomery took down the original house at this address in 2007 to construct this 8,400-square-foot residence. Listed at $1.999 million, it sold after six months on the market.
A person named Karla Calderon is vice president for merchandising at the Kirkland's Inc. retail chain, which has moved several of its execs from Jackson, Tenn. to Nashville in the past couple of years. Perhaps more coincidentally, two men named Rafael A. Calderón, father and son, have served as president of Costa Rica.
5. 4300 Iroquois Ave., 37205
Buyers: Herbert & Patricia Ligon
Sale price: $1.695 million
Seller: Pinnacle National Bank
Seller's agent: Steve G. Fridrich (Fridrich & Clark Realty)
Buyers' agent: Lisa Fernandez-Wilson (Fridrich & Clark Realty)
The bank took title to this spec home, at the northwest corner of Iroquois and Lynnwood, for $1.99 million last October after foreclosing on builder W&N Investments LLC.
6. 5142 Remington Drive, Brentwood, 37027
Buyers: Jason K. & Carrie Haslam
Sale price: $1.649 million
Seller: Distinctive Design Homes Inc.
Seller's agent: Sam Jovanov (French Christianson Patterson)
Buyers' agent: Amy Feldhacker (Zeitlin & Co. Realtors)
If the address of this house in the Princeton Hills subdivision looks familiar, you may be recalling it from May's "Headline Homes." Builder Distinctive Design Homes bought it from the folks who purchased a $3.9 million palace that had been on the market for a long time. Immediately after paying $1.8 million for it, Distinctive Design listed it for $1.65. It sold in 53 days, with Distinctive Design providing $1.474 million in seller financing.
Jason Haslam is an orthopedic surgeon in Nashville.
7. 112 Church St., Franklin, 37064
Buyer: Still House Hollow Farms LP
Sale price: $1.569 million
Builder/seller: Forte Building Group LLC
Seller's agent: Laura Baugh (Worth Properties)
Buyers' agent: Douglas K. Lackey (The Realty Association)
This three-story townhome in the Brownstones looks like a convenient pied-à-terre for Carl T. Haley Jr., registered agent of Still House Hollow Farms, who owns a lush farmstead on Still House Hollow Road out near Leiper's Fork.
Haley was among the investors in AIM Healthcare Services Inc. who cashed out in June, when a unit of insurer UnitedHealth Group paid a reported $430 million for the medical payment auditing firm.
8. 4321 Esteswood Drive, 37215
Buyer: Todd J. Vasos
Sale price: $1.498 million
Builder/seller: Divine Renovation Builders Inc.
Agents: None of record
Late last year, Dollar General Corp. named Vasos division president and chief merchandising officer for its 8,300-store network. He is relocating from the San Francisco Bay Area.
9. 3228 Kinnard Springs Road, Franklin, 37064
Buyers: Bethany T. Cook & Brian A. Sharp
Sale price: $1.495 million
Sellers: Paul W. & Kayleen Warden
Sellers' agent: Bill E. Henson Jr. (Silverpointe Properties)
Buyers' agent: Pam Tyson (Silverpointe Properties)
Cook and Sharp, who are married to each other, are both with Brentwood's Prime Health Services, a managed care company — Cook as vice president and Sharp as CEO.
10. 4410 Granny White Pike, 37204
Buyer: James H. Cheek IV, trustee
Sale price: $1.425 million
Sellers: Jackie Miller & Robert Stutts
Sellers' agent: Jack S. Miller (Bob Parks Realty)
Buyers' agent: Laura McSpadden (Fridrich & Clark Realty)
This Mission-style stucco home was built around 1930. In addition to renovating the existing structure, Miller & Stutts added a guest house and saltwater pool.
Public records don't spell out whom Jamie Cheek represented as trustee in the purchase, but there are clues. We know he is a partner in the business-management firm Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, whose personnel routinely serve as trustees on real estate purchases by country stars. We can see that whoever drafted the deed of trust on the $825,000 mortgage the purchaser took out on this property helpfully added the header "BENTLEY" at the top of each page.
A source on Music Row confirms to us that the new owner is, in fact, one-time Vanderbilt SAE fratboy turned country hit-spinner Dierks Bentley.