Good news, bad news in February real estate stats

There were 61 fewer real estate sales in February compared to the same month in 2017, Greater Nashville Realtors figures show. That’s a 1.6 percent drop-off.

There were 2,466 sales, an average of 88 sales per day. Last year’s sales were record-setting, eclipsing the number of transactions recorded in 2006, the previous high-water mark.

The 2,466 homes sold in February would have been the envy of the association for every year other than 2006, when sales hit 2,610, the best February on record. Even in the leap year in 2016, the sales hit only 2,293.

To recap, even with a 1.6 percent drop, this year was the third-best February in history, trailing only 2006 and 2017. Certainly, the lack of inventory continues to plague the market as buyers across the nation desirous of the Nashville lifestyle are frustrated by the paucity of opportunities that are available.

To make matters worse, inventory dropped from 8,464 to 8,359 compared to the previous February. Perhaps the 61 sales could have been made if only those 105 properties had been available.

The number of pending sales at the close of February totaled 3,307, compared to 2,899 last February. That differential is significant, as year-to-date sales for 2018 total 4,764 versus the 4,918 in 2017, or a decline of 154.

Historically, more sales close each month than were pending when the month began, especially in this market that is flooded with cash buyers. Trailing by 408 sales to begin the month with 354 pending, the odds are that the first quarter could surpass last year’s record setting pace.

With the official opening of the Nashville spring market looming – the Monday following the end of the last spring break in the area – sellers who have been searching for homes are in for excitement and more frustration as inventory flows in and prices increase.

Flood plains, synthetic stucco, busy roads, low-performing schools and even traffic issues, once seen as nemeses, are now merely distractions.

Sale of the Week

If Nashville’s builders were surveyed and asked which municipality had the strictest zoning and building requirements, the answer might surprise many. It would not be Belle Meade, as many would surmise, although Belle Meade once had the most bizarre restrictions of all time requiring mathematicians to join the construction team in order to determine the volume of the house in cubic feet.

Most with citywide experience might feel that Oak Hill is the most stringent when it comes to what can be built where and how it should look.

The house at 4007 Outer Drive was designed by P. Shea Designs and built by McKenzie Construction. That team was up for the task, as the finished product is unique and masterfully constructed.

Listed by Jessica Rosenblum with Parks for $1.55 million, the house sold for $1.435 million. It has 4,595 square feet of space, five bedrooms, four full bathrooms, and one half bath.

Rosenblum’s comments were true to the house and to the features that differentiated it from the market while subliminally crushing the non-existent competition.

She noted the house includes a side-load three car garage. Many buyers visiting the various real estate websites are not aware of the benefit of a side entrance garage, especially as it pertains to aesthetics. After reading Rosenblum’s comments, they realize they would not have it any other way.

She mentions that it is “NOT AN HPR,” but a single house on one lot. Those not familiar with the current Nashville market might investigate the term HPR and opt to stay away from this seemingly complex creature, not that there is anything wrong with an HPR.

With her master on the main level, she increases her market immensely.

Years ago, parents wanted to be on the same floor as their children, and homes were designed with upstairs master suites. Now parents want the bedrooms to be on a floor that their knees and hips will allow them to access. Main level living allows the parents to live apart from the children who will not leave.

With her listing of appliances manufactured by Wolf and Subzero, she immediately released any doubt as to whether this builder cuts corners by sacrificing quality. If a builder uses cheap appliances, think about how cheap the lumber package must have been.

Utilizing subpar nails, screws, subfloor, roofing materials, windows, footings, foundations, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and the rest of the components can lead to trouble in paradise in the years to come.

There are some inspectors who worry that half of the new construction in town will fall to the ground in the next 10 years. Not that there’s anything wrong with the ground.

My favorite quote regarding new construction comes from attorney Jean Harrison, who earns a good living on a practice that is dedicated to suing builders and developers.

Says Harrison: “Passing codes means the house got at least a D-.”

Ryan Miller of Parks, who has vast experience in construction and knows the good from the bad, represented the buyer in this transaction. With Ryan’s expertise, it is no wonder he chose this home.

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

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