Will Middle Tennessee's housing bubble ever burst?

Mar 06, 2018 at 03:05 pm by Michelle Willard

I've been wondering recently when Middle Tennessee's housing market will start to cool.

It can't stay this hot forever, right? The bubble has to burst sometime.

After seeing January slow a little over the previous year, I thought maybe we were seeing a return to a more reasonable market.

But then February came and sales were up 10 percent over January, according to the Red Report.

Shows what I know.

But the news isn't all that bad.

The one good thing about the lower numbers in January is that inventories ticked up 4 percent when compared to February 2017. Maybe that will take some pressure off prices. Maybe?

Year-to-date prices are up 9 percent over 2017 while closed home sales are down 1 percent.

Steven Dotson, president of Red Realty and issuer of the Red Report, thinks 2018 will be boring.

"It looks like 2018 is going to be a lot like 2017, which looked a lot like 2016. I’ll take boring steady growth any day over the rollercoasters we’ve had in the past. So my vote would be to have another boring steady year like last year," he said.

He explained the February increase as a symptom of more to come as the "Spring Selling Season" blooms.

And even though inventories increased a little, they are still near historic lows.

"But we are seeing more development and construction on the way for 2018, which should help take some pressure off the buyer demand," Dotson said.

He explained the cost of building new homes will continue to increase, which in turn will push up the value of existing homes.

"Affordability continues to be a concern among first-time homebuyers and lower price-point buyers," Dotson said.

Fortunately, the market is flush with new townhomes and condos for first-time buyers or downsizers.

"Apartments also continue to be built in order to house those who would have been in the lower priced homes our market no longer has," Dotson said.

February Home Sales by the Numbers

Rutherford: closings up 1%; average closed prices up 11% to $264,985
Williamson: closings up 2%; average closed prices up 8% to $560,187
Davidson: closings down 4%; average closed prices up 10% to $367,844
Wilson: closings up 13%; average closed prices up 5% to $309,351

CBD bust victim launches GoFundMe

Enchanted Planet has launched a GoFundMe campaign after Rutherford County law enforcement agencies raided it and 22 other businesses and served 21 indictments on people accused of selling hemp-derived products.

“Our store was padlocked because we carried CBD. CBD is made from industrial hemp, not marijuana and is 100 percent legal,” said Louis Berbert, who opened Enchanted Planet in 1994.

“We take pride in providing products that our customers need, and make sure that we follow all the laws,” Berbert said.

Enchanted Planet was caught up Feb. 12 in a police sting, dubbed "Operation Candy Crush," when indictments were served following an undercover investigation by the Sheriff’s Office and Smyrna Police Department. The stores were accused of selling products resembling candy and containing cannabidiol, a.k.a., CBD, which is an industrial hemp derivative.

On Feb. 12, Enchanted Planet and all the other stores were padlocked on court orders Monday after a Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and Smyrna Police Department investigation. They were allowed to reopen Feb. 16 but the businesses have lost tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, attorney’s fees and other costs.

Stacey Hamilton, who co-owns two vapor stores in Murfreesboro – Kaleidoscope Custom Vapor Lounge on South Church Street and Memorial Boulevard – said she has lost more than $50,000 because of the raid.

To contribute to Enchanted Planet’s GoFundMe, visit gofundme.com/enchantedplanet1994.

Michelle Willard is a freelance journalist who fills her days with social media marketing, politics, true crime, and taking complaints. You can complain to her on Twitter @MichWillard or by email michelle(at)murfreesborovoice.com.


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