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EMTAR president: Wilson home sales expected to increase in 09

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By JENNIFER HORTONThe Wilson Post

Foreclosures may have been up in Wilson County in 2008, but an official with the local real estate association said 2009 is already improving for buyers and agents.

Lyndon LaFevers, president of the Eastern Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors, said Thursday he was feeling much more optimistic about home sales for 2009 as opposed to last year.

“We had a really slow, nothing, in November and December,” he said, but noted phone calls have picked up since January from prospective buyers.

“I’ve already felt it in January. It feels good again,” LaFevers said

Figures released earlier this week by the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency show Wilson County had 530 foreclosure filings in ’08, representing 1.28 percent of the housing units here. That places Wilson County 30th out of 95 counties in the number of foreclosures. THDA compiled the list of county foreclosures using data from RealtyTrac® US Foreclosure Market Report.

The list shows that Wilson County’s foreclosures increased last year by 79 percent from 2007 when 296 properties were foreclosed. The numbers were also up from 2006 by 162 percent when 202 foreclosures were filed.

Shelby County had the highest number of foreclosures with 15,516, or 3.94 percent; and Davidson County was second with 4,203 foreclosures. In terms of percentage, however, Davidson County was 16th in Tennessee with 1.53 percent of units foreclosed.

Pickett County, according to the list, had the lowest number of foreclosures in 2008 at four. It was followed by Moore County with six and Hancock County with nine. Foreclosures in DeKalb County declined in ’08 by 24 percent and in Decatur County by 18 percent. Sullivan County had the highest increase from 20 foreclosures in 2007 to 234 filed in ’08 for a 1,070 percent hike.

A report provided by Amy Hamilton, a former EMTAR president, noted that the sale of 66 homes closed in January. The median price of a home this past month in Wilson County was $166,500.

She noted there were 399 new available homes and 105 of them were under contract, an increase from December ’08 and not too far below January ’08’s number. 

“The opportunities are there. Interest rates are below 5 percent and money is available in Wilson County. I’m feeling good about it again.”

“At the current median sales price, a buyer can purchase a home for principal and interest payment as low as $945.50…based on a 5.5 percent interest rate with a 30-year amortization,” Hamilton said. “There are still great loans available with very little money down, especially for first time homebuyers and rural housing loans.” 

The website www.bankrate.com on Thursday listed a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 5.24 percent, a drop of 3 points, in the greater Nashville area. A person buying a home for $165,000 with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage would pay $910.11 a month during the life of the loan, the website noted. It also said that six months ago, the interest rate for such mortgages was at 6.39 percent.

A 15-year fixed rate mortgage dropped by 7 points on Thursday, the website said, to 4.95 percent, a decrease of .92 percent from six months ago when the rate was 5.87 percent. A person buying a home for $165,000 with a 15-year fixed rate mortgage would pay $1,300.52 during the life of the loan.

The website noted that some financial institutions had mortgage rates that were higher and some had rates that were lower for both 30- and 15-year mortgages.

Wilson County has fared much better than many other areas across the nation in terms of real estate because banks locally did not offer sub-prime mortgages, or mortgages approved for borrowers whose credit was insufficient to obtain a conventional mortgage. Wilson also has fared better because of its location, LaFevers said, noting the county is on the airport side of Nashville with a major interstate running through and access to two others.

“People are attracted here because of the business we have. It’s a convenient place to live,” he said.

LaFevers added that Wilson County will bounce back before many other places nationwide. “We’ll recover long before the nation. We’ll feel it as we go into spring. Our prices just haven’t been that far off.”

The complete report from THDA may be viewed online at www.thda.org/Research/rsrchcvr.html.

Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at news@wilsonpost.com. 

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