August home sales dip, median price growth halted
Realtors blame declining inventory for slight drop in sales; record median price growth ends at four months
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Nashville area home sales were down slightly year-over-year for August, marking a second straight month of decline that Realtors attribute to a drop in inventory and the peak summer moving season winding down.
The region's streak of four consecutive months of record median price of a single-family home, meanwhile, ended last month, according to latest monthly figures from the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.
After reaching $267,000 for July, the median price declined to $253,000 for August. That, however, was still 7.7 percent higher than the $235,000 local median price of a single-family home recorded in August 2015.
GNAR President Denise Creswell offered this perspective on the 0.8 percent year-over-year decline in overall residential properties sold during the recent month of August to 3,741 closings.
"Considering the time of year and the continued struggle with inventory, a slight decrease in sales is not unexpected," she said. "Once schools are back in session and the holidays begin to approach, the market always slows."
At the end of August, the Nashville area's single-family inventory was 8,412 homes, down 5.5 percent from a year ago and reflecting a 2.7-month supply that represents a seller's market. Overall, the inventory of residential properties was down 9 percent to 12,288, which reflects a 3.3 months supply that's also a seller's market.
Richard Exton, the principal in Nashville-based Manier and Exton, said that declining inventory is likely the significant factor holding back home sales.
"I have anecdotal evidence that sellers looking to move-up are reluctant to place their homes on the market for fear that they will not find something to buy after their house sells quickly," the real estate appraiser said. "Sellers are unlikely to accept a contract contingent upon the sale of the buyer's existing home, something they might have been willing to do several years ago."
Exton cautioned against reading too much into the month-over-month decline in the marketwide median price as was recorded for August.
"Historically, pricing has followed a stair step pattern as opposed the straight trend line up or down," he said. "Historically, prices rise, then they stabilize, then they rise again."
Exton said he had expected recent stabilization in Nashville area home sales, adding that monthly figures should continue at 2015 levels through next spring. GNAR President Creswell, meanwhile, called the 3,717 sales pending at the end of August a good indicator of local active buyers and sellers going into the fall.
Meanwhile, a separate tracking by the Williamson County Association of Realtors show a roughly 10 percent drop in residential sales to 607 home closings for August. The median price of a single-family home sold in that county rose 6.5 percent to a record $441,990 price for August. That was lower than the $452,706 for July.