Friday, July 9, 2010

Nashville area's median home price is highest in 2 years

The median price of a single-family home in the Nashville area rose 8 percent in June from the month before to $181,312, the first time prices have been this high since June 2008, the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors reported Thursday.
The spike during the month is probably a result of more higher-end homes selling than last year, said GNAR President Lucy Smith.

Smith said it was too early to call rising prices a trend.

County-by-county figures back up the notion that higher-end homes are selling better than last year. Williamson County, which has the region's highest median sale price at $332,000 for a single-family home, saw sales increase 33 percent in the first six months of the year compared with the same period last year.

RelatedChart: Home sales continue climb

In some cases, homeowners have been dropping prices to try to sell homes. Suzan Hindman, a Prudential Woodmont Realtor, dropped the price on a more-than-6,000-square-foot home with a four-car garage and a pool with a waterfall. Despite a price drop of nearly $200,000 to $749,000, though, the Williamson County home hasn't sold.

"The (homeowners) have realized they want to move the house so they dropped the price,'' she said. "There is a lot of inventory and a lot to choose from, so buyers can be pickier."

There continues to be a 10-month supply of inventory in the Nashville market, meaning it would take about 10 months to sell off all the homes currently for sale.

A six-month supply is considered a key sign of a healthy market.

Williamson County had the biggest drop in median prices during the first half of the year compared with the same period last year — a dip of 8 percent, down from $360,000 a year ago.

Tommy Patterson, principal broker at French Christianson Patterson & Associates in Nashville, said as tax credits for first-time homebuyers interested in lower-priced homes expire, he has seen a shift toward more interest in pricier homes and that will push the regional median sales price up.

The first-time homebuyer tax credit was the most generous, at $8,000. Congress extended the deadline to close on a home purchase and still get the tax credits until Sept. 30, but homebuyers must have signed a contract by the end of April.

Davidson County saw sales climb 17 percent and Rutherford County's sales rose 21 percent compared with the first half of last year.

Sales up for 9th month

For June, the market that includes Nashville and surrounding counties saw home sales climb 15.5 percent compared with a year earlier. It was the ninth-straight month of sales gains, the Realtors association said.

In other real estate news, mortgage rates hit a five-decade low this week. Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped to 4.57 percent this week.

Contact real estate and business reporter Naomi Snyder at 615-259-8284 or

Tax credit, low mortgage rates lifted April home salesReal Estate Outlook: Housing Numbers Slump