As Reported by George Waldon/Arkansas Business Access Article Here
Three Little Rock agencies moved up among the top 10 residential realty firms in Arkansas last year.
Re/Max Elite made the biggest move from No. 13 to No. 9. That reflected a doubled 2017 sales volume of $266.8 million, up from $131.6 million in 2016.
Coldwell Banker RPM Group rose to No. 5 with a sales volume of $439.2 million, up from No. 6 and $348.7 million. Keller Williams Realty went up to No. 8 with $296.9 million sales volume, compared with $214.1 million at No. 9 in 2016.
The big four retained their pecking order, but Keller Williams Market Pro Realty of Fayetteville at No. 2 recorded a sales volume gain from $698.2 million in 2016 to $751.2 million for 2017. The other three firms experienced ever-so-slight dips.
At the top, the Arkansas operations of Crye-Leike Realtors of Memphis went from $1.26 billion to $1.21 billion.
No. 3 Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney Faucette in Fayetteville went from $698.2 million to $608.4 million for 2017.
No. 4 Lindsey & Associates of Fayetteville went from $549.3 million to $523 million.
Among the top 20, 13 agencies recorded gains in 2017. The biggest upward moves were recorded by two Little Rock firms.
The Charlotte John Co. went from $98 million at No. 21 to $115.6 million at No. 15. iRealty went from $94.6 million at No. 23 to $111.1 million at No. 17.
At this point its important to explain real estate mathematics. The industry double-counts the sale of a house in recognition that the buyer and seller are often represented by different agents and companies.
The doubling reflects a system that acknowledges two sides to every transaction. However, instead of dividing the sales price of a property between the buyers agent/company and the sales agent/company to determine sales volume, both agents and companies get credit for the entire amount.
The real-world dollar total of houses sold is more like half the sales volume reported by companies and agents.
Conways Pam McDowell Properties (2016 sales volume of $72.7 million) was bought Dec. 1 by another Conway firm: ERA Team Real Estate.
As reported by the Citizen Tribune: Access article here
Crye-Leike Real Estate Services, the nations fifth largest privately-held residential real estate firm and the largest in the mid-South, celebrated another record breaking year for 2017.
The company sold $6.5 billion in real estate and closed 32,583 transactions corporate-wide, its highest sales performance in over 40 years of operation. Included in those numbers, Crye-Leikes East Tennessee region, which celebrated its own record-breaking year with $301 million in sold real estate, compared to $269 million in 2016.
"We anticipated there would be some challenges in real estate for 2017 inventory shortages were an issue and we saw an increase of annual tenure in homes," said Harold Crye, Crye-Leike chief executive officer and co-founder. "Despite those challenges, our sales associates were able to excel and make it our best year to date."
The company has more than 3,200 sales associates and 128 company-owned and franchised offices in a nine state region and Puerto Rico.
"We are proud of our network of Crye-Leike sales associates who dedicate their services to help home buyers and sellers in and around their communities," said Crye-Leike co-founder Dick Leike. "Their hard work, time and commitment have made it possible for over 650,000 families to make the dream of homeownership a reality since we first opened our doors over 40 years ago."
During Crye-Leikes 41st Annual Kick-Off Campaign conferences, held every January, the two founders shared the announcement to agents and employees in each of their nine state regions. Sales Associates received 2017 company highlights as well as the 2018 company goals.
"Lets continue to set goals and make 2018 the best year to date," Leike said. "Although, challenges for the real estate industry in 2018 appear to be similar to that of 2017, we can reach our 2018 goal of $6.8 billion."
To reach this goal and to stay on top as a real estate leader in the mid-South, Steve Brown, Crye-Leikes president of residential sales, encouraged sales associates to continue their professional and personal growth.
"Crye-Leike had its best year ever in 2017, exceeding our volume in the boom year of 2007," he said. "Were encouraged that the U.S. tax overhaul will help boost jobs and therefore, sales in 2018 and even into 2019. We are focused on growth in sales and agents."
As reported by Chester County Independent- Access article here
Crye*Leike Blue Skies Real Estate wants to make sure that the rescued pets at Companion Pet Rescue have a very merry Christmas this year. From Dec. 8-22, the team of Realtors and staff located at 3021 Hwy 45 Bypass, will be collecting donations of dog bedding and dog food.
Everyone here at Crye*Leike Blue Skies love our pets! We want to show love, kindness and a little Christmas cheer to our four-legged friends during the cold winter months, said office administrator, Sherry Scheid.
The items needed by the Companion Pet Rescue are dry or canned dog food, bedding for small, medium or large dogs, towels, blankets, small rugs and pet toys for the dogs to play with.
To make a donation, drop off charitable items to Crye*Leike Blue Skies Real Estate located at 3021 Hwy 45 Bypass Jackson, TN 38305. Questions or concerns, please contact Office Administrator, Sherry Scheid at 512-1234 or by e-mail at sherry.scheid @crye-leike.com
As reported by Clarskville Now -http://clarksvillenow.com/local/crye-leike-joins-forces-with-loaves-fishes-for-jingle-bell-food-drive/
Crye-Leike Real Estate Services Clarksville- St. Bethlehem has partnered up with local soup kitchen, Loaves & Fishes, to support their5th annual Jingle Bell Food Drive.
Through the beginning of December, Crye-Leike will accept donations of canned, bottled, or boxed food goods at their office located at 2512 Wilma Rudolph Blvd.
Every year our office chooses a local charity to support for the holiday season, said Glenda Gardner, Crye-Leike office administrator. This year we are honored to help support such a wonderful organization that will contribute to feeding so many families in need.
The collection of food items will be donated directly to Loaves & Fishes, an organization that is responsible for feeding over 200 individuals and families, six days a week, in the Clarksville community. Additionally, they serve as a food distribution center for other local churches and agencies that feed the needy.
The Crye-Leike team of employees and realtors will work hard over the next six weeks to collect food donations. They will also accept donations of paper goods and cleaning supplies such as paper towels, napkins, and cups, laundry detergent, dish soup, and liquid hand soap. Every donation made will be given to Loaves & Fishes to help continue their support of feeding those in need.
Through the collection of donations made by the publics generosity, we are hopeful that we can make a difference in the lives of many, said Gardner. This will be Crye-Leikes first time teaming up with the organization.
To make a donation, drop off charitable items at Crye-Leike Real Estate Services, 2512 Wilma Rudolph Blvd. Clarksville, TN 37040,Weekdays 8:30 a.m-5 p.m. Questions or concerns, contact Glenda Gardner at (931)647-3400, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Reported by the Chattanoogan - http://www.chattanoogan.com/2017/10/30/357573/Realtor-Donna-Darnes-Receives-CRS-Designation.aspx
Crye-Leike Real Estate Services' Affiliate Broker Donna Darnes has become a certified residential specialist. Ms. Darnes currently works out of the Crye-Leike Ooltewah office at 5913 Main St., Ste. 107.
To earn this recognition, Ms. Darnes had to complete advanced professional training and demonstrate outstanding achievement in her professional residential real estate career. There are only 29,000 realtors who have earned this credential out of 1.2 million realtors nationwide. Having a CRS designation, home buyers and sellers can trust that Ms. Darnes is well versed in the latest tactics and technologies to better assist clients in maximizing profits and minimizing costs, said officials.
Not everyone has the opportunity to do something they truly love for a career, said Ms. Darnes. It has been a dream come true for me to work as a realtor with Crye-Leike and make a difference in my clients lives.
Ms. Darnes actively serves as a board member for her local Realtors Professional Standards Committee. She is a lifetime member of Crye-Leikes Multi-Million Dollar Club and a member of the National Association of Realtors, Greater Chattanooga and Cleveland Association of Realtors.
Ms. Darnes is a current resident of Harrison and has over 11 years experience in the real estate industry. She is licensed in both Tennessee and Georgia and serves the real estate needs of buyers and sellers in all of (and surrounding areas) of Hamilton County, and Catoosa and Walker Counties in Georgia.
In addition to Ms. Darness recent designation, she is also nationally recognized as a LeadngRE Relocation Specialist, At Home With Diversity Certification, Certified TREES Graduate, and e-PRO certified, and an Associates of Applied Science degree.
For further information about real estate in and around Hamilton County, contact Ms. Darnes at 544-1906, or by email at email@example.com. You may also visit her website athttps://donnadarnes.com.
As November begins, so does the season of giving.
From volunteering to donating to participating in events, Sumner County is full of opportunities to help the needy. Here are some ways to give back this season.
1. Give away outgrown children's coats
United Way of Sumner County launches its Kids Coat Drive, collectinggently-used children's coats through Nov. 10 to help families in need.
Drop off locations:
166 N. Belvedere Drive in Gallatin
900 Conference Drive in Goodlettsville
110 Indian Lake Blvd.
104 Glen Oaks Blvd. in Hendersonville
The Farmers Bank
120 Village Drive in Portland
107 North Broadway in Portland
5804 Austin Peay Hwy. in Westmoreland
515 Hwy. 76 in White House
Gallatin Police Department holds its Shop with a Cop Golf Tournament to raise money to provide Christmas gifts for children. Golferswill receivecomplimentary lunch from T's Hot Chicken.
When:8 a.m. Nov. 4
Where:Long Hollow Golf Course
Tickets:$200 per four-person team
Register:615-451-3120 or 615-452-1313
3. Give toys, gift cards
Hendersonville police are in need of cash, new toys andgift cards for the annual Santa Cop programto provide Christmas gifts for those who would otherwise have none.
To donate, drop unwrapped items off atthe Hendersonville Police Department, 3 Executive Park Drive.
Checks made payable to Hendersonville Santa Cop can also be mailed tothe Hendersonville Police Department,ATTN: Santa Cop, 3 Executive Park Drive, Hendersonville, TN 37075.
4. Drop off nonperishable foods
Donated nonperishable items through Nov. 9 for Portland Chiropractic's Thanksgiving Food Drive to help Portland C.A.R.E.S. provide goods for families in need.
Items most wanted:
mac and cheese
Donors will receive one raffle ticket per two items donated, and new patients can receive a free exam if they bring a bag full of nonperishable items.
Where:Portland Chiropractic, 826 S.Broadway in Portland
5. Catch a show, shop
Help provide presents for kids in need in several ways through Christmas 4 Kids.
Hunter Hayes, Brett Young, Lindsay Ell, John Berry and more will perform at thebenefit concert7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Ryman Auditorium. Tickets are $60.
See more artists at thebus showfrom 5-9 p.m. Dec. 11.
Chaperone for ashopping tripfrom 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Dec. 12.
6. Hit the trails
Walk, jog or run a 5k, one mile or five-mile trail in Sumner Teen Center's fourth annual Fall Back Bolt. Proceeds support the center's programs from homework help to transportation and driver's ed to cooking classes.
When:8 a.m. Nov. 11
Where:Station Camp Greenway
7. Be a super hero
Dress as a super hero for The Edison School's Hero Hustle 5k Fundraiser to support Sumner County's school for children with various learning disabilities. There will also be a costume contest.
When:7-10 a.m. Nov. 18
Where:Station Camp Greenway
8. Start Thanksgiving with a morning jog
Wake up Thanksgiving Day with another family tradition before turkey:the Indian Lake Loop. With a competitive five mile and 5K, participants of all ages can enjoy the 11th annual event. The race benefits COMPASS of Sumner County, supporting local schools.
When:8 a.m. Nov. 23
Where:The Streets of Indian Lake
Tickets:$25, $60 for family of three to five
9. Run for veterans
QSA Foundation of Tennessee hosts These Colors Don't Run Red, White and Blue Walk/Run to help homeless veterans.
When:7:30-9:30 a.m. Nov. 11
Where:Tripile Creek Park in Gallatin
Tickets:$25, $15 for veterans
Details:Find theevent on Eventbrite.comor email firstname.lastname@example.org
10. Donate to Sumner County Food Bank
The holiday season is the food bank's most strenuous time, director James Gill said. Gill can stretch monetary donations to get more food for less from Second Harvest Food Bank to serve the hungry throughout the county.
Crye-Leike Real Estate Services Gallatinis collecting unwrapped toys and gently-used clothing for children ages 12 months to 12 years old through Dec. 7. Donations will be given to the Gallatin Day Care Center. Drop offs can be made at 1208 Nashville Pike.
On Dec. 7, the public can join Crye-Leike for warm apple cider and free baked goodsfrom 2-6 p.m. There will be warm apple cider and plenty of baked goods that will be offered free to the public.
As reported by the Chattanoogan -http://www.chattanoogan.com/2017/10/24/357245/Crye-Leike-Has-Trunk-Or-Treat-For.aspx
Crye-Leike Real Estate Services East Brainerd office will have a fall fundraising event in conjunction with Crye-Leikes Annual United Way Campaign. The office will kick off fundraising activities for their fall festival, Trunk or Treat Sunday from 1-4 p.m.
The event is free to the public and will be held in its office parking lot at 1510 Gunbarrel Road.
The festival will include family-friendly activities such as face painting, limbo contest, and corn hole. A local Wendys franchise will be donating chili for attendees to enjoy, as well as hot dogs supplied by one of Crye-Leikes Chattanooga realtors. Success Real Estate School will be supplying water for the event.
Monetary donations will be accepted throughout the afternoon. All of the proceeds will go directly to supporting the United Way of Greater Chattanooga.
We are really looking forward to bringing the community together with our fall festival, said Emily Pray, marketing director of Crye-Leike Chattanooga. Most importantly, we are excited to show support of our local United Way through donations made during the event.
For more information about the event, please contact Ms. Pray at 296-1456, or email Emily.email@example.com.
Spring Hill, TN - Attention anyone with a closet: Those shoes you no longer want are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.
That's the message being delivered by Eddie Ferrell of Crye-Leike Realtors, which has launched a drive to collect shoes to help the poor. Used and new shoes can be dropped off at Crye-Leike Realtors offices at 1819 Broadway, Suite 200, Nashville, or 5111 Maryland Way, Brentwood, or 5407 Main Street, Spring Hill, TN.
"Spearheading a donation drive for Soles4Souls is especially relevant to me as a triathlete who believes shoes are important, whether for a competitor in a triathlon or just the everyday race of life," said Ferrell, who has participated in two Ironman distance Triathlons and twelve half-Ironman distance Triathlons.
The shoes that Eddie collects will be delivered to Soles4Souls, an international anti-poverty organization that monetizes used shoes and clothing to create sustainable jobs and fund direct relief efforts, including distribution of new shoes and clothing. Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries.
Eddie Ferrell of Crye-Leike, Realtors is a strong supporter of Soles4Souls' anti-poverty mission.
Soles4Souls, which holds the highest rating from nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator, will convert every used pair of shoes collected from the community into a value-added social currency to achieve positive change, both humanitarian and economic. Most of the reusable shoes will be distributed to micro enterprise programs that create jobs in Haiti and other poor nations. The resulting revenue will help fund the free distribution of new shoes in the U.S. and overseas. Among its relief programs, the organization has distributed over 200,000 new pairs of shoes to help Philippine victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
The connection between poverty and shoes is well documented. The World Bank estimates that approximately 400 million children worldwide, more than the entire U.S. population, live in pronounced poverty. Millions of these children will grow up never having had a pair of shoes, resulting in significant ramifications for their health and well-being. Lacking proper footwear, countless children will not be able or permitted to attend school. And tens of millions of these poverty-stricken, barefoot boys and girls will be infected with soil-transmitted parasitic diseases like hookworm, causing lasting suffering and lifelong debilitation.
"The simple truth is that almost anyone with a closet has shoes they don't wear, or an old pair that will just end up in a landfill," said Ferrell. "Give those to us, and know that you are taking a step to making the world a better place for all of us."
Eddie Ferrell of Crye-Leike Realtors used shoe drive for Soles4Souls information
Crye-Leike, Realtors offices that are participating include 1819 Broadway, Suite 200, Nashville, 5111 Maryland Way, Brentwood, and 5407 Main Street, Spring Hill, TN.
For more information, please contact (931) 320-4552 or (615) 302 663.
About the NALA
The NALA offers local business owners new online advertising & small business marketing tools, great business benefits, education and money-saving programs, as well as a charity program. For media inquiries, please call 805.650.6121, ext. 361.
Soles4Souls is a not for profit global social enterprise committed to fighting the devastating impact and perpetuation of poverty. The organization advances its anti-poverty mission by collecting new and used shoes and clothes from individuals, schools, faith-based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners, then distributing those shoes and clothes both via direct donations to people in need and by provisioning qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities. Since it began, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Soles4Souls is committed to the highest standards of operating and governance, and holds a four-star rating with Charity Navigator. Please visit www.soles4souls.org for more information.
Crye-Leike is a full service real estate company that was founded in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike. Today, Crye-Leike is ranked as the 6th largest real estate firm in the nation and the #1 real estate company in the Mid-South. Crye-Leike has a network of more than 3,000 licensed Realtors and 115 offices located throughout a nine-state region in Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma. More information about Crye-Leike can be found at www.crye-leike.com.
Since 2002, when Crye- Leike Realtors opened its first offices in central Arkansas, the company's bright red "For Sale" signs have become a familiar sight for prospective homebuyers throughout the area.
During the past 13 years, Crye- Leike has expanded to include more than 350 sales associates and nine offices devoted to serving central Arkansas, including locations in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle, Benton, Bryant, Conway, Cabot and Hot Springs.
This year marks the third in a row for the company to be voted central Arkansas' top real estate company by the readers of the Arkansas Democrat- Gazette.
"We are excited and honored by this recognition," said Johnny McKay, managing broker for Crye- Leike's central Arkansas regional headquarters, located on Kanis Road in west Little Rock. "We appreciate our many central-Arkansas homebuyers and sellers that made this possible."
Crye- Leike Realtors, based in Memphis, Tennessee, was founded in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike. Today, the company is the nation's fifth- largest real estate company and the largest in the Mid- South. Crye- Leike has more than 3,000 professional sales agents and 138 corporate and franchise offices in nine states, including Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
Part of what sets Crye- Leike's service apart from the rest is the caliber of its agents.
The central Arkansas team of brokers, sales agents and support staff takes pride in exemplifying Crye- Leike's mission of "a passionate commitment to unsurpassed service," McKay said.
"We have an interview process that all prospective agents go through. We also do career and aptitude testing through our recruiting website," he said.
Realtors affiliated with Crye- Leike strive to personify the company's core values, including hard work, pride, integrity, respect, diversity and being a good neighbor.
"Once here, new agents can take part in our unique training, called Crye- Leike College, and a six- week start- up program, 'Blueprint for Success,'" he said, adding that the company's mentoring program allows new Realtors to learn from successful, more experienced agents.
The company offers the latest in real estate marketing tools, McKay said, including a 24/ 7 information line for current listings, automatic follow- up programs, an in- house appointment center, virtual home tours, a special 'luxury portfolio' program for upper-end properties and more.
"We utilize the latest in real estate information technology and offer our customers one of the best real estate websites in the nation," he said. "Crye- Leike is the No. 1 real estate company in central Arkansas, with a 2014 sales volume that exceeded $ 711 million."
Atoka, TN. - Crye-Leike's Atoka office welcomes affiliate broker Wade Cates to its team. Cates comes to Crye-Leike from DuPont Chemical where he worked for 33 years.
Cates was inspired to start a new career in real estate after speaking with Nancy Carroll, managing broker of the Atoka office.
"I feel great about being with Crye-Leike," said Cates. "I never even thought of another company or broker other than Crye-Leike and Ms. Carroll."
Cates assists buyers and sellers in Tipton and Shelby counties. He is a member of the National Association of REALTORS and the Memphis Area Association of REALTORS.
For all your real estate needs contact affiliate broker Wade Cates by phone at 901-840-1469 and 901-840-1181 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crye-Leike is a full service real estate company that was founded in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike. Today, Crye-Leike is ranked as the 6th largest real estate firm in the nation and the #1 real estate company in the Mid-South. Crye-Leike has a network of more than 3,000 licensed Realtors and 112 offices located throughout a nine-state region in Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma. More information about Crye-Leike can be found at www.crye-leike.com.
The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors elected new leadership who will serve the organization in the year ahead.
Cindy Stanton, with the firm Crye-Leike, Realtors, was elected president of the association on Dec. 12. She takes the helm as Nashville's surging population and enviable job growth are juicing demand for homes and condos in the region and driving purchase prices ever higher.
Crye-Leike ranks among the region's three largest residential real estate firms, according to Nashville Business Journal research. The company has offices in nine states; Stanton is managing broker of the firm's Midtown office, according to her website.
Stanton's term begins Jan. 1 and will last for the duration of 2015.
It's been six years since Harold Crye, CEO of Crye-Leike Real Estate, expanded the company's footprint into Northwest Arkansas. He said the local business has grown sales each year from $76 million in 2007 to $385 million last year. Crye-Leike had a 35% share of total units sales last year, with 2,659 properties.
Crye said the economy tanked just as the company ramped up in Northwest Arkansas, but in the past few years the momentum has returned.
"Our agents in this region had a 15% increase in volume sales from 2012 to 2013. They blew our $370 million goal out of the water and we predict $400 million in total volume for the region this year. That's about a 5% increase and unless the market really tanks they should reach that goal and more," Crye said at the company's 2014 Kick-off breakfast event held in Rogers on Wednesday (Feb. 19).
Crye said higher interest rates are inevitable and will hurt affordability in many markets. He said as home prices declined in recent years in concert with interest rates, affordability hit a five-year low last summer. But Crye warns as prices improve and rates tick upward, affordability could become a stumbling block later this year.
"This should be creating a sense of urgency in prospective buyers now that the region looks to be thawing out from the winter freeze," Crye said.
Another challenge for the business is a lack of inventory. Vickie Briolet, an agent in Crye-Leike's Bentonville office, said inventory levels are as low as she has seen in many years.
"We all need listings. There are buyers looking and limited properties to show," Briolet said.
Crye said fewer new homes being constructed is partially to blame for the lower inventory levels across the country. The National Association of Realtors reports new home inventory hit a 50-year low in 2012 at just under 200,000, after peaking at 500,000 in 2006.
Market watchers say housing starts need to reach the 1.5 million level soon on annual basis or there will likely be a persistent shortage of housing inventory for the long-term. For the past six years the residential construction industry has fallen short of the 1.5 million units needed just to keep pace with the new household formation.
Bankers are keeping a tight rein on building, Crye said, and this is likely to continue as long as job growth remains tepid.
"The biggest reason there are less new homes built is because of the weak job growth President Obama has been able to muster. There are families doubling up and grown kids living in basements because they don't have the financial stability to start a new household," Crye said.
He said this has set up favorable dynamics for the rental market and he encouraged his agents to get busy seeking out investor deals. In the larger Memphis market, he said the company is working with an institutional investor who is purchasing 1,000 homes for rental. Crye-Leike is also providing the property management in that deal.
Two goals he has for the local region in 2014 is to expand its property management division as well as establish a commercial real estate division.
Crye-Leike continues to expand its offices westward, adding an office in Grove, Okla., and acquiring the Coldwell Banker office building in Siloam Springs in October. Crye said the company has recruited several agents from other large national firms to work in that Siloam Springs market.
The Arkansas Realtors Association reports there were 8,419 agents working in the state last year. Total agent count is down 46% since 2007. Crye said there are 217 agents working in the Northwest Arkansas market among the company's eight offices. Crye-Leike added more than 40 new local agents in 2013.
"We continue to recruit and hire new agents, our total number is up in this region and up nationally," Crye said.
On the national level Crye-Leike operates 106 office with 2,828 agents. The largest market for the company is Memphis where the company has 16 offices and 716 agents with roughly a 40% marketshare, according to Crye. The company has 9 offices in Little Rock, with 351 agents and Crye said he is looking to other growth opportunities.
Crye-Leike posted combined annual sales of $5.2 billion, selling 30,471 units last year. Those results include franchise office sales, Crye said.
The company sales goal for 2014 is $5.5 billion, a 6% increase year-over-year.
"All of our offices are growing and we think this is doable, unless the economy tanks. We have several new offices planned this year, one in eastern Tennessee and two in Georgia." Crye said.
Memphis Business Journal
Don't tell this Memphis real estate agent that the housing market is down.
Crye-Leike Inc. agent Jimmie Tapley was recently named the country's 10th most successful residential Realtor according to REAL Trend, Inc. and The Wall Street Journal, which compile a list each year of the top real estate professionals in the United States.
Tapley earned her top 10 ranking based on the number of closed transaction sides she had in 2012. She sold 455 properties last year, helping buyers and sellers close on a home every day in 2012. She also had several days last year where she sold more than one home in a day's time.
"I just work around the clock and I've been very lucky," Tapley says. "It doesn't hurt that I'm an old lady who's been doing this for more than 30 years. When you do something for that long in the same place, people get know you and they trust you."
Tapley says she has sold homes to young couples and then later sold homes to their children.
"I've just been fortunate to have lots of very loyal clients," she says. "I love what I do."
Of course, this isn't Tapley's first rodeo. She sold 437 properties in 2011 -- good enough for 13th in the country.
Of course, this begs the question: If you can sell more than one home a day for an entire year and only rank 10th on the list, what do you have to do to be No. 1? First, you have to sell homes in one of America's hottest markets -- like the Dallas suburbs. Second, you have to be Ben Caballero, who reportedly sold more than 2,260 properties last year in and around Addison, Texas (home of the Mary Kay Museum, if you're ever in town).
"I don't think I'm going to reach that here, but I'm not worried," Tapley says. "We're doing pretty good."
Tapley is based out of Crye-Leike's Quail Hollow corporate headquarters office in Memphis.
After 15 years in the Arkansas market, Crye-Leike Realtors pushed deeper into uncharted territory and crossed into the land of 10-digit sales volume.
The company's 572 agents around the state amassed a combined residential sales volume of $1.04 billion during 2012.
Crye-Leike's residential operations in Arkansas accounted for 22 percent of the company's $4.5 billion in sales during 2012.
The largest independently owned real estate firm in the South began its inexorable march across Arkansas when it crossed the Mississippi River in February 1997.
The opening of the West Memphis office marked the firm's entry in the Arkansas market. That was followed by Crye-Leike's purchase of White Realty, which opened the door to the Jonesboro market.
The company began business in Little Rock in 2002 after earlier unsuccessful efforts to enter the market through acquisition.
That startup effort with 10 agents provided the seed that grew into the largest residential realty concern in central Arkansas.
Crye-Leike generated a market-leading sales volume of nearly $587 million last year.
The company entered the northwest Arkansas market in 2006. In the Benton-Washington County market, Crye-Leike held the third-largest market share among residential firms.
Two Fayetteville firms hold the top two spots in northwest Arkansas.
Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney & Faucette ranked No. 1 with total sales volume of nearly $423.9 million. Lindsey & Associates Inc. tallied residential sales of $358.9 million.
Real estate agents affiliated with Crye-Leike in the Chattanooga area were told that "It's a new day" concerning the 2013 real estate market. The company's success in Chattanooga reflects market conditions across all areas where Crye-Leike has offices.
Home sales history in Chattanooga from 2000, shows the "high-water mark" came in 2006, and the "bottom of the trough" occurred in 2011, said Harold Crye, CEO and co-founder of the company. The final figures for the year show that 2012 was very good, with sales of $405 million in the Chattanooga area which is the largest increase since 2007.
The sale of 2,703 homes closed during the year is 28 percent above those sold in 2011, and far exceeded the goal of a five percent increase that had been set for the year. Company-wide, sales of 28,065 houses produced $4.5 billion in sales volume.
Mr. Crye told the realtors that there is an eight-year low inventory of houses for sale, and that new home construction was put on hold during the downturn in the economy. He said two-three years are usually needed to create a new subdivision from the acquisition of land to the actual building, so new homes will not be available immediately. According to the National Association of Realtors, 2012 was the best year for housing affordability since record keeping started in 2007 partially because of low interest rates and an abundance of available houses.
Now the industry is experiencing demand up and supply down which is contributing to a five-seven percent median increase in the sales price of a home. Construction prices have remained high so the increased cost of a new home will raise the price of existing housing, said Mr. Crye. He also predicts a rise in interest rates, however estimating that the rate will be around four percent. This is still very low he said. This price appreciation equates to wealth appreciation since the equity in a house is usually a persons' largest investment, he said.
In the recent past a large percentage of transactions have been in distressed sales such as foreclosures and "upside-down" mortgages. In 2012, the top producer by unit in Crye-Leike's Chattanooga offices came from the REO branch which deals with Real Estate Owned, foreclosed property. Mr. Crye predicts that REO sales will decline and said it will be necessary to prepare for a normal time which produces only about three percent of this type of sales.
In the next four years it is expected that REO sales will decline and that by 2016 the market will be back to the average normal of three percent. In 2010, 30 percent of the company's sales were attributed to REO properties, 23 percent in 2011, and 25 percent in 2012. As the number of these properties decline, it is expected that in 2013, they will make up 15 percent of the sales, falling off to eight percent in 2014 and five percent in 2015.
Renter households are increasing because people think that they will not be unable to buy a house. One of Crye-Leike's goals for the future includes growth in property management to take advantage of this trend. It is expected that this business will come from out of town investors that have purchased rental property and need a local company to manage it. Management services are also needed by individuals that may be "upside-down" in their mortgages, and want to rent a property until all the value is re-gained.
Embracing new technology such as the use of smart phones laptops and IPads to make presentations to customers is the way of the future, the realtors were told. A visual presentation provides a focal point and creates more interest. Social media such as Facebook is also seen as a form of customer engagement. The company is planning to provide technology training to their agents on a one-to-one basis.
Listing syndication presents a foreseeable problem for realtors, said Mr. Crye. The company has posted their listings on many websites other than their own, such as Truilla and Zillow. He doesn't like the fact that on these sites, another realtor's picture may appear alongside a listing that is not their own. This happens because the site has been paid, which is deceptive, he said. He likened the practice to extortion to get payment from the listing agent. This was not being done when the company started using these services, and the solution is unknown, he said. A possibility is to keep the company's listings on only a few sites unless an individual agent wishes to pay for their listings on others. He told the audience that a national solution is being worked on. If nothing is done, real estate companies could lose because these websites could become the gate keepers, he said.
Optimism is exhibited by another goal of the company, which is to increase sales in 2013 by $5 million which would be an 11 percent company-wide increase over 2012. This equates to a goal of selling a 10 percent increase in the number of units for the upcoming year. The new year is off to a good start, since the month of January showed an increase of 25 percent over the same time period a year ago, he said.
The forced happy talk is gone, and the thin, tight smiles of years past have given way to genuine relief.
Though their ranks and wallets are thinner, the real estate agents of today are the survivors, the ones who made it through the worst housing downturn in their lifetime.
"We've finally turned the corner here in Chattanooga with sales," said Harold Crye, president of Crye-Leike.
Last year marked the first actual turnaround for a market that had previously shown no signs of stopping its free fall. The upswing was marked by a 17 percent jump in sales in 2011, as the number of units sold bounced up to a 5-year high of 6,675 homes sold through the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors' multiple listing service last year.
Total Chattanooga home sales in 2012 peaked above $1 billion for the first time since 2008, growing to $1.1 billion from $886 million the prior year, according to Realtors reports. Home inventory is at an 8-year low, and the number of rental households has climbed almost 25 percent in the last decade, straining current capacity.
Taken together, it was enough to convince Crye to resume the company's big annual summer conference, which has been suspended for two years due to lack of funds.
"Times are finally good enough that the agents have a couple extra bucks," Crye said.
He's also spending millions of dollars on long-postponed copy machines, computers and renovations.
"We're doing our part to stimulate the economy," he quipped.
He'd better get in line. Construction companies across the nation have already added 98,000 jobs in the past four months, the best hiring spree since the bubble burst in 2006, and economists forecast even more jobs could be added this year, according to the Associated Press.
"People eventually get sick of living with their sister, and they move out and buy a home," Crye said.
There's no one cause for the uptick in home purchases, Crye said, but rather a handful of trends working in concert to lift the fortunes of real estate agents across the region. Homeowners with enough cash to talk bankers into lending them money have found great deals on homes that they could have never afforded during the market's heyday.
But the record-low interest rates, low prices and rental backlog won't last forever. Homeowners waiting for the perfect time to buy may have already missed their window, statistics show.
Higher home sales have reduced housing inventory, which takes time to develop and build. That in turn, has driven U.S. home prices higher than they've been in 6 1/2 years according to CoreLogic. Home prices rose 8.3 percent in December compared to the prior year, the biggest annual gain since May 2006.
The rising prices should encourage homeowners to sell, builders to build and developers to develop, re-starting the dormant real estate engine that once drove America.
"All signals point to a continued improvement in the fundamentals underpinning the U.S. housing market recovery," Anand Nallathambi, CEO of CoreLogic, told the Associated Press.
Sales of distressed homes, which have made up as much as a third of all home sales in 2010 and 2011, are projected to fall to 5 percent by 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors.
"You've got to start talking about new lots, those new lots are going to be sold at a higher price, and it takes a year, sometimes longer to develop a subdivision," Crye said.
In Chattanooga, Crye-Leike sold houses worth a combined $405 million for 2012, roughly in line with pre-recession levels in 2002.
However, the recovery hasn't come without its casualties -- 12,000 agents have left Crye-Leike during the downturn, leaving the company short of its 34,000-agent peak. And there's still a long way to go before the company hits the $714 million mark it notched in Chattanooga during 2006, Crye acknowledged.
"We may not ever see those days again, but we'll eventually get back to those numbers on our sales volume," he predicted. "It's time to start planning for a normal market."
Real estate magnate Harold Crye, co-founder and CEO of Crye-Leike Realtors the fifth largest real estate firm in the nation, sees big possibilities in Northwest Arkansas.
When the tall, confident businessman came to town in March 2007, he laid down a $10 million bet that he could be a major player in this highly competitive market.
Crye, an Oseola native, said anyone who thinks big, has to be in Northwest Arkansas. So he and partner Dick Leike expanded here as the firm already ranked No.1 in Little Rock and among the top firms in Memphis.
He said at the time he didn't expect to make a dime in this market for the first three years, but Wednesday (Jan. 30) Crye said the region's performance has more than exceeded his original expectations.
"We knew this was a competitive place to do business, but we committed to be here for the long term and it's paying off nicely," Crye said at the company's annual kick-off breakfast in Rogers on Wednesday.
The Northwest Arkansas division has increased its sales each year, even through the toughest of times in 2009 and 2010, when the foreclosure market took center stage.
Crye-Leike NWA reports $333 million in sales last year, with 2,101 units sold. This was a 20% gain of sales volume over 2011. The local goal for last year was $300 million.
NWA Market Sales Results
2012 $333 million
2011 $277 million
2010 $255 million
2009 $182 million
2008 $130 million
2007 $76 million
In 2007, Crye said he expected to rank No. 1 in unit sales in this region within four years. Wednesday, he said the firm ranked second behind Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney Faucette, and one spot ahead of Lindsey & Associates.
"If Coldwell Banker and Harris McHaney had not merged a couple of years ago, I believe we would have reached that goal. But the top three firms are neck in neck in this market year-in and year-out,"
Real Estate Company Rankings
No. 1 Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney Faucette: 2,689 sales
No. 2 Crye-Leike: 2,032 sales
No. 3 Lindsey & Associates: 1,939 sales
No. 4 Weichert Griffin: 1,317 sales
No. 5 ReMax: 808 sales
Crye challenged the local agents to work referrals and gear up for what he believes will be a good year. In his crystal ball forecast, Crye sees opportunities on a number of levels. The goal for the NWA division is $370 million this year, an annual increase of 10%.
He said the firm will continue to grow its property rental business because the pool of renters is only going to increase over the next few years as thousands will not be able to qualify for home loans because of recent foreclosures or other credit issues related to prolonged underemployment issues.
That said, Crye fully expects a record year for real estate sales citing low interest rates, recovering economy and fewer foreclosures after 2014.
"Investors are buying property by the millions across this country because they see the demand for rentals and potential for price appreciation in five to seven years. I have been working with a Wall Street firm who was looking to spend $450 million in cash in the Atlanta and Memphis markets. There has to be investors in this market too and this presents good opportunities to close sales," Crye said.
He said those agents who have worked the foreclosure market nearly exclusively for the past few years need to begin to transition their business to normal sales because the rate of default continues to decline.
Home prices have started to rebound and Crye expects this to continue because supplies remain at a low levels as builders are still somewhat constrained by tighter lending practices. He expects home prices could grow 15% over the next three years, helping to restore household wealth and future improve consumer confidence.
Crye warned agents that as the real estate market improves more folks will likely want to join their profession after several years of declining numbers. The agent count in Northwest Arkansas totaled 1,554 at the end of 2012, down from roughly 2,300 in 2007.
Crye said agent retention has been better in Northwest Arkansas than many other markets. For instance, the total agent count throughout Memphis dropped nearly 50% during the toughest years.
Companywide, Crye-Leike's agent count is roughly 3,000 agents down from 3,500 in 2007.
Throughout the nine markets that Crye-Leike operates, the firm posted $4.5 billion in sales during 2012. The goal was $4 billion, a mark Crye said the firm had tried to reach for three years prior.
He said the past few years have been challenging for the industry and Crye-Leike was not immune as sales plummeted from $6 billion down to $3.8 billion during the housing bust and subsequent recovery.
He quoted Dale Earnhardt Sr. by saying: "You can't wait for the storm to pass, sometimes you have to drive in the rain."
Crye added, "You have all worked in that rain for the past four or five years, up to your knees in mud at times. As a firm we have had to dance pretty fast to keep up and stay afloat through some pretty lean years, but 2012 was a break-out year for real estate and the future looks quite promising."
Hard hit by the economic downturn, Memphis is one of those places with just enough resilience to pull through no matter what. As evidence of this Tennessee's biggest real estate player, Crye-Leike, has announced their best sales year in some time. Who says there's no money in real estate these days?
A story in Memphis's Commercial Appeal Monday revealed a Crye-Leike better than $700 million in sales ahead of where they were in 2011. Last year Crye-Leike agents sold some 28,065 units across several states to the tune of about $4.5 billion. So, co-founders Harold Crye and Dick Leike showing up at a gala at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis ballroom (image above) was no hollow celebration. Sales awards flew, as did spirits, and the firm's spokespersons told us Crye-Leike Memphis Realtors sold $1.2 billion in 2012 selling 7,681 units (properties) which marked a 22% increase in both volume and units over 2011 figures.
RealtyBiz Managing Partner Al Twitty spoke with Stan Holmes, Manager at the Collierville Crye-Leike office about the prospects for Memphis in 2013. Holmes offered the following more good news and the following statistics.
1.The market has sustained a 19% increase in sales - With Crye Leike sales up 22%
2.40% of sales in Memphis are from Crye Leike, a major increase
3.18 of the 33 zip codes in Memphis show an average sales increase
4.Bank Sales were down in 2012 at 22% of the volume
Holmes went on to suggest; ??With interest rates low and consumers more confident in the Memphis market, now is definitely the best time to buy.?? With the Fed doing all it can to keep interest rates down, certainly the trend is with Holmes and Crye-Leike where telling people to buy is concerned. Most experts believe markets all over have fairly well bottomed out.
A press release from Crye-Leike yesterday also mentions 2012??s price recovery as a huge profitability win for not only Crye-Leike, but the industry in Tennessee in general, this on top of the news from the National Association of Realtors that 2012 was a record year for housing affordability. Obviously, the combination of dedicated agents, price recoveries and just the right mix of value for home buyers made 2012 a real bright news bit, and a sorely needed one. And, it's nice to see leaders lead.
The local housing market has dominated headlines for the past decade and the news has been mixed. There were unbelievable highs through 2006 to the doldrums of 2009 and then the foreclosure havoc through 2011. But experts agree 2012 was the best on record since prior to the great recession.
George Faucette, CEO of the local Coldwell Banker franchise, said it was his firm's "best showing in a long time."
Linda Marquess, agent with Crye-Leike Real Estate, did better than that, saying 2012 was the most successful year she has had in a 41-year career.
Marquess closed 119 sales in 2012, 96 were new home constructions built by industry veteran Mark Marquess who is working in three subdivisions located in Fayetteville, Rogers and Bentonville.
"It's been an incredible year and we expect a repeat performance in 2013, based on the feedback and preorders we are getting for new homes," she said.
Paul Bynum, statistician with Mount Data, reports agents across Northwest Arkansas sold 427 homes in December. That equated to 271 in Benton County and 156 in Washington County. The total value of those transactions was $71.518 million, up 9.19% from the year-ago period.
Faucette said market activity did slow some as the year wound down, but there continues to be several good trends in play.
"The lot overhang is being sold off, construction pace has been steady, those new homes are selling and the inventory of existing homes and distressed properties has come way down. This has helped to push average prices up nearly 20% in 2012," Faucette said.
He said his firm posted a 16% increase in units sold in December, while the overall local market sold 4% more homes than a year ago.
The big story in 2012 was price recovery, which helped to push the full-year home sales beyond the $1.05 billion mark for the first time in four years across Northwest Arkansas.
Mount Data reports 6,053 homes were sold in Benton and Washington counties in 2012, this was up 3.55% from the prior year. But the total value of sales rose 17.8% from the 2011 year-end.
"Our gross transaction values rose 29% in 2012 which is incredibly exciting," Faucette said. "The average ticket price for homes closed by our agents rose $20,000 in 2012, from the prior year."
He was quick to say it does not mean everyone's home value rose that much in 2012. But he said like product values did rise roughly 4% across the market which was a welcome sight after several years of downward pressure.
"We were fortunate to see more higher-end home sold this past year and fewer distressed or lower-end properties, which is the reason for the hefty spike in average home prices," Faucette said.
He does expect to see the recovery continue in 2013 with home prices rising somewhere between 3% and 5%, barring there is not another economic calamity from debt ceiling or spending cut issues still being debated in Washington.
Harold Crye, CEO of Crye-Leike Real Estate, agreed that 2012 was a better year for the housing industry and his firm in particular.
"Crye-Leike finished 2012 strong, up in sales approximately $700 million companywide over 2011 figures and Crye-Leike was also up in the number of properties sold in 2012 finishing out the year selling 28,065 units up from selling 24,470 units in 2011," Crye said.
"It's best year in sales since 2007 when we had a $5.7 billion sales volume," said Crye. "There were lots of positive things that happened for the housing industry in 2012 and we expect to see many more great real estate improvements in 2013."
Crye predicts there will be an increase in sales, consumer confidence, new home construction, price appreciation, multiple offers on homes and a decrease in REO (real estate owned) sales by banks.
Locally, Crye said, sales volume for 2012 was $303.387 million, one of the best since expanding here from Little Rock in 2008.
Bynum says the market fundamentals that monitor supply and demand are in near balance for a stable and healthy diagnosis at the end of 2012.
He said inventory totaled 3,178 homes, down 300 from the prior month and 56% below the historic high in August 2007. Inventory is down 10% from a year ago.
For new construction, Bynum said volume in 2012 was $189 Million, up 40% over 2011. Agents like Marquess sold 793 units, up 34% from 2011 levels. The median sales price for new home sales was $215,000, up 2% from 2011.
Of the 6,053 homes sold in 2012, Bynum said 12 of them were valued in excess of $1 million, but the majority of sales (793) ranged between $75,000 and $100,000. Bynum notes there is a 5- to 7-month supply of homes priced under $150,000 - a value deemed the affordable price range for the local median income.
The median home price for the full year of 2012 was $142,000, up from $120,000 in the prior year. This pushed median price-per-square-foot up to $81, the highest level since 2007.
2012: 3,809 units, $683.830 million
2011: 3,594 units, $568.069 million
2010: 3,290 units, $541.463 million
2012: 2.254 units, $374.457 million
2011: 2.259 units, $332.189 million
2010: 2,083 units, $322.256 million
Median Sales Price
Hundreds of agents with Memphis and Tennessee's largest real estate firm are to gather Tuesday to celebrate Crye-Leike's best year for sales in five years.
The company finished 2012 nearly $700 million in sales ahead of 2011, according to a Crye-Leike spokesman.
Leading the agency's annual kickoff at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis ballroom will be co-founders Harold Crye and Dick Leike. They will update agents on market conditions, discuss market predictions and company goals for 2013, and hand out sales awards.
Crye-Leike recorded about $4.5 billion in sales in 2012 across its region that encompasses multiple states. Its agents sold a total of 28,065 units last year.
Crye-Leike's sales, both dollar amount and number of units sold, for recent years are: 2011, $3.8 billion and 24,470 units; 2010, $3.85 billion and 24,260 units; 2009, $3.9 billion and 24,983 units; 2008, $4.2 billion and 25,281 units; 2007, $5.7 billion and 32,500 units; 2006, $6.1 billion and 35,498 units; 2005, $5.6 billion and 34,039 units, and 2004, $4.61 billion and 29,581 units.
The real estate market continues to show signs of rebounding in the wake of the Great Recession and collapse of the housing bubble.
Just last week, the Memphis Area Association of Realtors reported that sales in 2012 rose 17.2 percent, to 15,071 units, compared to 2011. Dollar sales volume for the year increased 19.8 percent to $1.94 billion with a slight in the average sale prices.
The Crye-Leike annual kickoffs are usually boisterous pep rallies, with upbeat music and a good dose of humor mixed in.
The company sells in seven states, but a year ago company leaders challenged agents to meet a 2012 goal specific to Memphis area: Increase sales there by 3 percent, to $1.08 billion.
Crye-Leike leaders also implored its agents last year to make greater use of social media for sales, and focus more on the sale of distressed homes through short sales.
Meanwhile, company officials kept their pledge to roll out a new Crye-Leike website.
Also last year, Crye-Leike agents helped the company's 2012 United Way campaign collect $22,300.
"Our 2012 United Way campaign was another great success," Crye said in a prepared statement. "Crye-Leike is thankful to have so many generous agents and employees who are excited to be Good Samaritans in their community helping their neighbors in need."
Last week, the National Association of Realtors projected that 2012 will go down as a record year for the affordability of houses.
The Realtors' "affordability index" is based on the median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate. It was 198.2 in November. The higher the index, the greater the household buying.
An index of 100 is considered the point where a median-income household has precisely enough income to qualify for the purchase of a median-priced existing single-family home, assuming a 20 percent down payment and 25 percent of gross income devoted to mortgage principal and interest payments.
For all of 2012, the Realtors association projects the housing affordability index to be a record high 194, up from 186 in 2011 which was the previous record.
More signs continue pointing to a housing industry recovery and the largest residential real estate firm in Memphis is spelling out that fact through its own transaction volume.
Crye-Leike Inc. is celebrating its best sales year in five years, after closing $4.5 billion in transactions in 2012, The Commercial Appeal reports. The volume is a far cry from the $5.7 billion Crye-Leike agents closed in 2007 but represents a $700 million improvement over the $3.8 billion total in 2011.
Last week, the Memphis Area Association of Realtors reported that local brokers sold 17.2 percent more homes in 2012 than in 2011 and increased overall sales by 20 percent over the same period, finishing the year at $1.94 billion in total sales volume.
Memphis-based Crye-Leike Inc. saw a 13 percent increase in the volume of units sold in Memphis in 2012, company president Dick Leike told a room full of area brokers Tuesday morning at the company's annual kickoff meeting.
Crye-Leike brokers in Memphis sold a total of 7,681 units in 2012, well ahead of the 6,822 units sold in the previous year.
"I believe 2011 was the bottom of the pits," Leike said. "We saw month-over-month sales increases through 2012 ... and there's a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of activity out there."
To illustrate the company's successful 2012, Leike made a few allusions to 2007, a year in which area brokers generated $2 billion through the sale of more than 11,000 units. From that point through 2011, Crye-Leike reported consistent year-over-year declines both in sales and in units sold.
But Leike said the release of pent-up demand and favorable market conditions boded well for Realtors in 2012 ? and should continue to facilitate a resurgence in the residential markets.
"Believe me," he said, "this is an opportune time for real estate agents."
The most recent data from the Memphis Area Association of Realtors reflects Leike's assertion. Area brokers sold 17.2 percent more homes in 2012 than in 2011 and increased sales volume by 20 percent over the same period, finishing the year at $1.94 billion in total sales volume.
Crye-Leike's local figures reflected earlier news that the company increased sales across its seven-state footprint by $700 million for an increase of nearly 20 percent over $3.8 billion in 2011 sales.
Outside of Tennessee, Crye-Leike is active in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi.
Local real estate agents possibly put 17.13% more money in their pockets in October, thanks to active buyers and higher home prices from the same month in 2011.
Agents across Benton and Washington counties sold 470 homes in October with a value of $84.44 million, compared to $69.973 million for 420 sales in the year-over-year period, according to MountData.com.
One of the largest firms in Northwest Arkansas, Crye-Leike Real Estate, reported $28 million in Northwest Arkansas sales for October, up 18% from the prior year. CEO Harold Crye said unit sales also rose 23% in this market.
Year to date, Crye said his local agents have rung up $273 million in sales - a 16% jump from a year ago.
The local good news is part of a bigger trend according to Crye, who said company-wide his firm did 21% more business - $380 million - in October than last year.
Paul Bynum, market analyst with MountData.com, reports the housing inventory in the two-county area had 3,454 residential listings at the end of October, down 15% from a year ago, and 52% lower than the all-time high 7,192 homes in August 2007.
He said reduced inventory has helped sellers by pushing prices higher. With an average 6.8 month supply of homes at the end of October, much of the local market now favors sellers -- reversing a four-year buyers market.
Median home prices in October were $152,455 in Benton County and $140,000 in Washington County. Prices rose 25.8% and 12%, respectively across the two counties.
Anthony Clark, agent with Bassett & Mix in Fayetteville, said 2012 has been a good year for his business that in part to rebounding prices.
"I work a niche business in the historical district and Wilson Park area of Fayetteville. A couple of years ago I had to tell some sellers to hold off putting their homes on the market given the low prices and tepid demand. But in 2012 they came to me and were able to sell their homes at much higher prices and then repurchase at lower interest rates than they would have seen in 2010" Clark said.
He recently closed three deals, at either full asking price or a little over asking, including an E. Fay Jones construction that a couple purchased as they moved to Fayetteville from out-of-state.
Clark said people who want to sell need to get their homes ready to show, and that means making repairs, sprucing up and in some cases doing cosmetic changes if they want to command top dollar.
"I am encouraged for the spring selling season because I am already getting calls from folks who say they want to list in the spring and know they need to start getting ready now," Clark said.
Not only are homes going at higher prices, they are spending fewer days on the market according to Mike Maxwell, agent with Crye-Leike in Bentonville.
Bynum reports the average days on market in October was 65 from list to contract, but Maxwell beat that by a mile.
Maxwell said he has three listings that sold in near record time - 5 days, 7 days, and a new construction that closed in 37 days. He echoed Clark's sentiment, saying sellers who clean up properties and then price aggressively have the best chance to snag an offer.
"It only takes one showing to get a sale, but it's incredibly important that the home be priced right and when an offer comes in, hopefully the two agents can negotiate a deal that works for both sides," Maxwell said.
He said October was unusually busy, as people were trying to get deals closed before the election. He expects traffic to slow through December as it does seasonally, but admits this year has been anything but normal.
"Our winter was incredibly busy, then we slowed some in the summer which is usually really busy, but then ramped up this fall, when things typically start to wind down," Maxwell said.
Agents have sold 5,112 homes in the two counties during the first 10 months of this year. Transactions total in excess of $888.95 million, up 17% from the period in 2011. Median home prices are also up 17% to $140,000 for the two counties, which has helped to bolster sales volume.
The agents say business is healthier than it's been in several years and they're hoping the momentum can be sustained.
Bynum said pending transactions are a leading indicator of the future sales. In November there were 818 new listings and 560 pending transactions. That compared to 677 new listings with 437 pending sales a year ago. He said the 28% increase in pending should bode well for closings in the next 30 to 45 days.
Home Sales (January through October)
2012: 3,197 units, $571.191 million
2011: 3,064 units, $476.409 million
2010: 2,782 units, $457.288 million
2012: 1,915 units, $317,657 million
2011: 1,958 units, $283.103 million
2010: 1,777 units, $276.110 million
Median Sales Price (January through October)
NWA housing market on the mend
Submitted by The City Wire Staff
story by Kim Souza
The residential housing market continues to mend with higher home prices, steady home sales and active builders breaking new ground at a faster pace than a year ago.
In Benton and Washington counties agents sold 592 homes in August, close to the 601 sold a year ago. But agents pocketed nearly 20% more money as sales volume rose to $107.118 million, compared to $90.262 million in the same month of last year, according to MountData.com.
Agents, brokers and lenders polled by The City Wire all rate the health of the Northwest Arkansas housing market about a 9 out of 10 through the first eight months of 2012, when comparing to last year.
That said, the sales activity is still a far cry from the non-sustainable records set in 2006. Comparing to the market height, insiders give an average score of 6.
"I see the activity today as a new normal that most could comfortably live with for some time," said George Faucette, CEO of the local Coldwell Banker franchise.
Faucette said his firm ? one of the largest with 165 agents ? recorded a 24% increase in sales volume this year. He said July and August were strong months about $55 million in total volume for the firm. He remains optimistic that the housing market will continue to push the economy forward into 2013, providing a nice tailwind and reversing the headwinds felt since 2007.
Tami Fagan, an agent with Crye-Leike in Fayetteville, said she's busy with sellers and buyers.
"I just got three new buyers under contract in the past few weeks, two were young professionals and first-time buyers. The other couple relocated to Fayetteville from Arizona with their two children. There seems to be plenty of buyers, good inventory and prices are coming up for sellers," Fagan said.
She said the rental market is tight and some of her sellers have a lease option.
"The lease rates at $1,500 to $1,600 for a four bedroom are a good bit higher than the monthly cost of owning the home at today's very low interest rates. But this gives the owners a nice spread if they can't find the right buyer in the short term," Fagan said.
Brian Dandy, also with Crye-Leike Realtors, said he had an interesting sale in recent weeks.
"I had one home go under contract in a day. I got a referral from Facebook and met the sellers, priced the home, listed it and it showed all in one night. The next day we received an offer and negotiated a contract by mid afternoon," Dandy said.
He added the sellers were motivated to meet the market price and actually brought money to the closing table to accomplish a sale almost overnight, which was what they needed.
Harold Crye, CEO of Crye-Leike Real Estate, says his Northwest Arkansas offices were up 25% for the month of August and 40% for the year. The two-county area is recovering faster than some of the other regions across the south where Crye-Leike is also located.
Crye said August sales were up 16% across all regions versus August of 2011. For the period of January through August 2012, Crye-Leike offices are up 42% in sales volume across all regions, He said the firm has recorded higher year-over-year sales for the past eight months
Paul Bynum, a market analyst with MountData.com, reports the local inventory stood at 3,597 listings at the end of August, down 21% from a year ago. He said inventory has dropped 50% since it peaked in summer of 2007.
New homes comprised 208 of the listings in August, down from 355 new homes on the market a year ago. Buildings permits are up about 40% from a year ago, but there is no surplus accumulating as new homes are selling well according to local banks fronting the construction loans and agents closing deals.
Historically new home sales make up about 10% of the total real estate sales, over the past three months that has increased to 12%.
In the first eight months of 2012 agents sold 4,102 homes valued at $707.325 million, up from $611.644 million in 2011. Unit sales rose only slightly by less than 1%.
Bynum says the real story across Northwest Arkansas is higher home prices. The median price in August hit a four-year high at $140,000, up 16.7% from a year ago. The average sales price per square foot totaled $81 last month and homes spent an average of 69 days from listing to pending, Bynum said.
He said the combination of much lower inventory levels are once again favoring sellers who have homes listed below $150,000.
Looking forward, Bynum said there were also 619 pending sales in August, compared to 573 a year ago. He said this is a leading indicator for strong September sales and continuing the upward trend that began back in January of this year.
Home Sales (January through August)
2012: 2,547 units, $450.452 million
2011: 2,483 units, $385.191 million
2010: 2,226 units, $366.509 million
2012: 1,555 units, $256.776 million
2011: 1,596 units, $226.861 million
2010: 1,437 units, $226.456 million
Median Sales Price (January through August)
NWA home prices rise as market improves
Submitted by The City Wire Staff
story by Kim Souza
Despite record heat in July, agents across Northwest Arkansas say they are busy selling homes and statistics indicate the local market is healthier than it's been in years as home prices improve.
Through July, agents in the two-county area sold 3,512 homes, up just 1.15% with a year ago. But overall sales volume rose 9.99% to $597.71 million over last year, according to the latest report from MountData.com
Median home prices are up nearly 20% from a year ago in the combined Benton and Washington counties. The rising prices signal a healthier market as the supply of homes more adequately fits the demand seen from the local buyers pool, according market insiders.
Two of region's largest firms report stronger sales in 2012 through the month of July.
George Faucette, CEO of the local Coldwell Banker franchise, said his firm's total sales volume is up 26% from a year ago through the first seven months of 2012. He also reports unit sales rose 17% over last year.
Harold Crye, CEO of Crye-Leike Real Estate, says in Northwest Arkansas his firm saw a 17% growth in sales volume through July versus the same time period last year. He said company wide, Crye-Leike's total sales are up a little over 20% through July versus 2011 figures.
With more than half of 2012 in the rearview mirror, these real estate veterans remain optimistic and they credit the local market health to stronger job numbers.
Faucette said for the first time in a long time the real estate market is helping to pull the economy forward on the national scene and the same appears to be true at home.
Linda Marquess, veteran agent with Crye-Leike Real Estate in Fayetteville, is on track for a record sales in 2012 ? the best in 41 years, she says.
"Since February I have had anywhere from 25 to 33 sales pending each month, nearly all of them have been pre-sales for brand new homes in Fayetteville," Marquess said. "When you consider the awful heat we've had, it's amazing to me that people are still out shopping."
She said there is no magic formula for the success she's had this year. Marquess mostly sells new homes in the Cobblestone and Sunbridge subdivisions in Fayetteville.
"I guess there's been some pent up demand and now that the local economy is looking better, I have retired folks, first-time buyers and young professionals all buying new homes. They are getting great amenities in smaller footprints and unbelievably low interest rates - well below 4%," Marquess said.
While new home sales are an important part of the overall market, they only made up about 14% of total pending transactions in the month of July.
The overall market displayed mixed blessings in the month of July.
MountData.com reports preliminary unit sales across the region in July declined 4.7% from a year ago as agents in Benton and Washington counties sold 571 homes. But total sales volume recorded last month was $103.580 million, up 14.9% from the prior year.
The higher volume indicates home prices continued to rise in July, Benton County had a median home price $156,700, up a whopping 36% or $41,700 more than a year ago. Prices are also moving higher in Washington County with median home values of $145,000 in July, up from $120,000 one year ago.
Faucette said his firm posted its strongest July numbers in four years. Total written business that includes closed transactions and sales still pending, rose 28% for units and 19% for total volume over the year-ago July period.
Paul Bynum, analyst with MountData.com, said overall pending sales are trending higher in July and August and are the best forward looking indicator for the local market.
Overall market inventory stood at 3,665 homes in July, down from 3,737 a year ago. New home inventory is higher with 335 listings in July, compared to 292 a year ago. But existing home inventory continues to shrink, down 22% from a year ago, according to Bynum.
The median sales price per square foot in July was $82, up $2 from the previous month. The total days on market for homes selling in July averaged 65 days, which was five days longer than in June, according to MountData.com.
Bynum says there is 6-month supply of homes listed for sale on the market below the $150,000 price range, which indicates a neutral market. Low price categories in the $100,000 range are in a clear seller's market, while higher price ranges tend to favor buyers, he said.
The seller's market index, a metric that measures how favorable the market is for sellers, reached its highest reading since 2006, Bynum said.
Home Sales (January through July)
2012: 2,167 units, $380.035 million
2011: 2,114 units, $329.336 million
2010: 1,935 units, $314.093 million
2012: 1,345 units, $217.673 million
2011: 1,364 units, $192.454 million
2010: 1,266 units, $201.218 million
Median Sales Price (January through July)
NWA short sales on the rise
Submitted by The City Wire Staff
story by Kim Souza
Homeowners who need to sell their property but face negative equity positions got a little extra help from federal agencies this week. Local agents say this could help boost an already active short sale market higher in the coming months.
Short sales across Benton and Washington counties totaled 264 from Jan. 1 through Aug. 20 of this year. That was a 54% increase from 171 short sales in the same time frame of 2011, according to Vicki Briolat, agent with Crye-Leike Realtors in Bentonville.
Julia Valenciana, also an area agent with Crye-Leike, sees the local real estate market starting a new cycle ? tighter supplies and rising home values. But she said the market improvements of the past few months haven't been enough to help some homeowners.
"I have been focusing mainly in listing short sales. Many home owners may feel that they can no longer afford their home, even with modified payments, these homeowners still want to avoid the devastating effects of foreclosure." Valenciana said.
The agents say a better alternative is a short sale, or a deed-in-lieu. In a short sale, the lender allows a home to be sold for less than what is owed on the mortgage and is a way to avoid foreclosure.
Since June, federal housing agencies have tweaked the rules twice, most recently on Tuesday (Aug, 21) in hopes of reducing the time frame for approval and broadening the scope for qualification.
If a homeowner qualifies under Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) after the short sale is successfully completed the homeowner is cleared of all remaining debt and obligations on their first lien mortgage to their mortgage servicer and is eligible for $3,000 for moving expenses, Valenciana said.
HAFA is available for mortgages that are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or serviced by over 100 participating mortgage servicers.
Fannie and Freddie, together own or guarantee about half of all U.S. mortgages, or nearly 31 million home loans. Along with several federal agencies, they backed nearly 90% of new mortgages over the past year.
Valenciana said the short-sale process is expected to get shorter. New guidelines issued under the Federal Housing Finance Agency will require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give home buyers of short sales notice of their final decision within 60 days. The new guidelines also will require the mortgage giants to respond to initial short-sale requests within 30 days of receiving an offer from a potential buyer.
WIthout the streamlined decision making, Briolat said, short sales could take months upon months in recent years, which frustrated buyers and sellers.
On Tuesday (Aug. 21) The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced added measures to make "short sales" of underwater homes easier for homeowners, including extending help to people who have financial difficulties but haven't missed mortgage payments.
The new guidelines, which go into effect Nov. 1, 2012, will permit a homeowner with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage to sell their home in a short sale even if they are current on their mortgage if they have an eligible hardship, the release stated.
Borrower hardships include, death of a borrower or co-borrower, divorce, disability, or relocation for a job.
Briolat said in the past, lenders required a homeowner to be several months behind on their payments and facing foreclosure before a short sale would be considered. At that point, she said a homeowner's credit had already been negatively impacted from the missed payments.
Agents said the short sale process was often held up when there were two lenders with title to a property.
"Back in the day when so many folks used 80-20 financing to avoid the mortgage insurance required with FHA loans, you would have one lender owning 80% and another owning 20% and neither could decide who would take the hit on a sale below the owed amount," Briolat said.
There are also lots of cases where a homeowner has a second lien from a home improvement loan taken when market values were higher.
In the event of a short sale there isn't enough money to fully repay all the lenders, Briolat said.
In the latest round of tweaking Fannie and Freddie agreed to place a $6,000 cap on the amount of money second lien holders can receive when the sale is completed. This is expected to prevent the mortgage holders from haggling over sale proceeds. This haggling has been known to last months and even years prior to this new program. There is a provision for second lien holders to object to the $6,000 cap.
"These new guidelines demonstrate FHFA's and Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's commitment to enhancing and streamlining processes to avoid foreclosure and stabilize communities," said FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco. "The new standard short sale program will also provide relief to those underwater borrowers who need to relocate more than 50 miles for a job."
Short sales have a milder impact on neighboring homes than foreclosures because short sales are typically discounted 10% to ordinary homes, compared with a 30% discount for foreclosures, according to real estate data firm CoreLogic Inc.
CoreLogic also notes that short sales represent roughly 12% of existing-home sales nationwide, according to housing data from June, the most recent month available. That compares to 10.88% a year ago.
Year-to-date short sales comprise about 7% of the total home sales reported through the local Multiple Listing Service in Benton and Washington counties, this compared to 5% in the year-ago period.
The housing regulator didn't estimate how many people would now qualify for short sales because of the expanded guidelines, but about 4.6 million borrowers with loans backed by Fannie or Freddie are underwater, with 80% of those homeowners having missed no mortgage payments, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
In Arkansas, an estimated 12.5% of homeowners have negative equity in their homes, according to CoreLogic.
Valenciana encourages homeowners having difficulty keeping up with their mortgage payments in a negative equity situation to put down their pride and contact their lenders without delay.
She said short sales have never been easier and there are several other options lenders have to help.
Memphis Business Journal by Ed Arnold, Editorial intern
Date: Friday, July 6, 2012, 2:28pm CDT
Memphis real estate agent Jimmie Tapley has been ranked 13th in terms of transaction numbers in a report by The Wall Street Journal and RealTrends.
In WSJ's "The Thousand" publication, which ranks real estate professionals by transactions and volume, Crye-Leike Realtors agent Tapley had 437.5 transaction sides.
A transaction side is defined as either working as the buying agent or the selling agent. If an agent worked as both the buyer's agent and the seller's agent, it counts as two transaction sides.
Nine other agents from Tennessee cracked the top 250, but Tapley was the only agent from the Memphis area.
In total transaction volume, fellow Memphis Crye-Leike agent Judy McLellan ranked 181st with a total volume of $57 million.
It's an impressive showing for the Crye-Leike organization. Company president Dick Leike believes that it al boils down to a solid work ethic.
"They knew exactly what they're doing," Leike says. "I'd put them up against the best agents in the world. Both of these agents work extremely hard."
Despite being in a very difficult period, Leike feels good about the direction the market is headed.
"We see some positive influences affecting the market right now," Leike says. "A lot of my agents are saying they see a tremendous amount of activity going on right now."
Leike says that Crye-Leike's May sales were up considerably and estimated that June would be an increase of more than 20 percent over the same period last year.
Real estate agents from across Crye-Leike's Chattanooga region last week gathered at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club to celebrate their success in 2011 and discuss predictions for 2012. In the crystal ball segment of the program, Crye-Leike co-founder and CEO Harold Crye offered his forecast for this year.
"The market is slowly stabilizing, and we expect sales to increase modestly as the economy gradually continues to recover," said Crye. "We expect to see more renters become buyers as rents continue to rise and mortgage rates remain at a historic low for now. We do anticipate mortgage rates will also soon be on the rise."
Crye-Leike's overall sales were good in 2011, with the company slightly missing its goal of $4 billion in sales. Agents companywide helped Crye-Leike reach a final figure of $3.8 billion in sales for 2011, with a total of 24,470 units closed.
"We think the market is turning the corner and real estate sales will be on the upswing in 2012," said Crye. "For the past three years, we've been holding steady along the 3 billion in sales mark, and expect to rise to $4 billion in sales for 2012. We feel like we've hit the bottom of the housing market, as we saw a surge in sales and were up in the fourth quarter last year."
At this year's kick-off meeting, Chattanooga agents helped Crye-Leike celebrate 35 years of helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs. Hundreds of agents attended the meeting and were awarded and applauded for their service and sales achievements in 2011.
"We thank all of our agents for the terrific job they do of caring for our customers, of helping us build a great company reputation, and for sticking with us through these tough times," said Crye. "We wish our agents a successful 2012 as we encourage everyone to keep believing in their dreams of homeownership."
Crye-Leike Chattanooga market sales in 2011 totaled $327 million from 1,746 homes sold. Crye is expecting sales in the Chattanooga market to increase by 5 percent in 2012. Locally, Crye-Leike is home to 259 agents and eight offices.
The upbeat tones of Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation" fade into "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves as real estate agents flood to their seats for the company's annual kickoff meeting.
In spite of the cheery music, the Crye-Leike agents are subdued inside the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club. There are more empty seats than last year.
They've waited since 2007 for the market to hit bottom, endured promises from politicians that their problems were over, but new data shows that 2011 home sales dipped to levels not seen since 2002, according to the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors.
"It's been a tough year for a lot of folks," said Dan Griess, Chattanooga general manager for Crye-Leike. "We've been in one of the most challenging markets we've had in a long time."
The hope of the new year bringing a brighter future to the beleaguered industry could depend on which way the wind blows next month because buyers often make the critical decisions about house-hunting based on how nice it is outside.
The winds, however, have not been kind over the last several years.
Crye-Leike, which claims to sell more housing units locally than any other group, shed 700 jobs in the Southeast and closed 20 offices to cut costs during the recession.
National studies show the local Realtors' hardship is echoed across the country.
As many as 3.6 million homeowners nationwide were late on their loan payments in 2011, forming a "shadow inventory" of potential foreclosures that threaten to further drive down home prices if they flood the market, according to the National Association of Realtors.
"Banks are slow-walking these foreclosures, but we're better off getting it over with than having it hung over our head," said Harold Crye, CEO of Crye-Leike.
Foreclosures hit the South hardest of all, with more than 836,000 loans in foreclosure last year, the association reported. The foreclosed homes, which continue to make up about one-third of all home sales locally, are also silencing builders' hammers, with new home starts plummeting in 2011 to a trough not seen since President Bill Clinton first took office in 1993.
But relief could be on the horizon, Crye said.
Sales volume jumped 10 percent in November and December, which could be enough to get things moving again, he told Chattanooga Realtors.
"We're seeing a fourth-quarter surge," he said. "It's a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel."
The company founder believes that 2012 could be the year the market rebounds, especially if the inventory of homes continues to fall and developers build new subdivisions to meet demand.
"If sales are going the way I think they're going to go, the markets are going to stabilize," he said. "We're already starting to see that."
Realtor Andy Hodes of Keller Williams said the inventory of unsold homes in the Chattanooga area fell dramatically in 2011, to about 4,400 in January compared to about 6,000 in January 2010.
"If those homes sell, we'll need to get more inventory," he said, but wouldn't speculate beyond a guess that sales will remain steady.
"And steady is a win," he said.
Interest rates, meanwhile, are near record lows -- about 4.046 percent for a 30-year fixed mortgage, according to Informa Research Services -- but they could go up if demand for housing suddenly rises, Crye believes.
"The theme we've to talk about for 2012 is never give up," he said.
No matter what the market does, there's never been a better time to buy, he said.
"Once it turns, it's going to turn with a vengeance," Crye said.
In the meantime, the company has moved into new markets in response to consumers' newfound appetite for rental property, which jumped 3.8 percent in price in the Chattanooga area in 2011.
Crye said a goal for 2012 is to move into property management, which is becoming a profitable way to deal with homes that won't sell.
That's how Ramesh Jolam, general manager of the Mexican restaurant Abuelos, decided to deal with his house when no buyers picked it up after several months.
"We had people come and look at it, but after a while we figured out we'd just lease it, live in an apartment for a while and save up some money," he said. "At this rate, if I lease it out for two more years, I'll make enough money and just buy another house."
Property management companies make a percentage of rent by managing leased homes for property owners who don't have time to work directly with tenants. That goes against the grain for Realtors used to making big deals for big bucks, Crye acknowledged, but it's a growing segment that yields a more stable stream of cash.
"It you have $1,000 in rent and you get 100 bucks every month, that's not much, but if you've got 200 properties paying $1,000, you're doing all right," he said.
Housing prices should rise in 2012 for more expensive homes, Dick Leike, co-founder of Crye-Leike , Middle Tennessee's largest residential real estate firm, said today in the company's annual Nashville meeting.
That's due to dwindling inventory, which will put pressure on prices to increase.
"If you look at Nashville and Memphis, there is not much new homes going up," Leike told a crowd of real estate agents. "The homes that are going up are in the bottom tiers? the under $270,000 range. We are getting skinny in other areas in the upper price ranges, especially in the $400,000 to $750,000 price range."
At the end of 2011, housing inventory in the Nashville area was 17,216, down from 19,411 a year ago, according to the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors . The supply of residential homes is about seven months for single family homes and about eight months for condos.
"As a matter of fact, inventory is down to levels not seen since about this time in 2007," said GNAR President Kendra Cooke in a press release last week.
Leike is upbeat about the year ahead.
"I think we are definitely turning the corner now, we are on the upswing," Leike said. "I think 2012 can be a heck of a year."
As the economy improves, demand for housing will build due to job growth and low mortgage rates, Leike said.
Nashville's housing market ended 2011 on a high note. For the first time since 2006, home sales were up last year compared to the year prior. Nashville-area home sales ended 2011 up 1.8 percent.
The city and state's largest real estate agency nearly reached its goal of $1.18 billion, selling 6,822 properties totaling $1.04 billion in the Memphis area for 2011.
The near-miss in such a harsh market hardly dampened the mood for Crye-Leike's 35th annual kickoff event for 2012.
Hundreds of agents practically danced themselves into ballroom at Holiday Inn-University of Memphis to the high-volume, blood-stirring recordings of Glenn Miller's "In the Mood'' and the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta a Feeling."
"We've had an economy we've never seen before," co-founder and president Dick Leike told the crowd. "You guys have done a terrific job making lemonade out of lemons."
In its entire seven-state region, Crye-Leike sold 24,470 pieces of property totaling $3.8 billion.
Judy McLellan got her annual exercise workout, walking back-and-forth to the stage to receive awards for the year's highest sales volume and related honors.
A living legend in the company, McLellan has led Crye-Leike in total dollar sales for 15 years.
The husband-wife team of Jimmie and Bob Tapley continued to make a remarkable mark of their own, for the number of their sales.
They sold 450-plus homes during 2011. They do handle a lot of distressed sales, but regular ones, too.
Last year, the Tapleys sold a house in Germantown for $925,000 and one in Frayser for $1,000.
"I don't put my eggs in one basket," said Jimmie Tapley, a seven-day-a-week worker who says her personal record is showing a client 54 houses in one day.
Even robbery doesn't defeat the Tapleys. Bob Tapley was held up on Belvedere last year -- robbed of his car, wallet and camera -- while photographing a house. The couple still sold that house, another house to the seller, and a third house to a policeman on the case, Jimmie said.
Crye-Leike has goals for this year, including increasing Memphis-area sales by 3 percent to $1.08 billion.
The company also expects to roll out a new website with a "cleaner, simpler look" early this year, executive vice president Steve Brown announced.
He challenged agents to embrace social media in their work, especially Facebook.
"There are over 800 million active users of Facebook," he said.
Post something once or twice a day, offer useful information, and "know that people expect you to be" on Facebook, Brown said.
Also this year, Crye-Leike will focus more training on sales involving foreclosures, bank sales and other "nontraditional business," Brown said. They make up more than a third of real estate sales and are expected to stay strong for two to four more years, Brown said.
President Obama's New Housing Plan
President Obama says he's trying to help struggling homeowners by lowering their mortgage payments.
Posted: 5:59 PM Oct 25, 2011
Reporter: Rachel Markin
Email Address: email@example.com
President Obama says he's trying to help struggling homeowners by lowering their mortgage payments.
But the proposed change for a selection of homeowners facing foreclosure is getting mixed reviews.
The President's plan gives those who owe more than their home is worth and have a mortgage from Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae the chance to get cheaper refinancing rates without jumping through as many hoops.
The owners must be making their monthly payments.
"I think they're loosening up some of the problems they have in the mortgage industry, the restrictions they have, they're gonna loosen that up and help it make is easier for everyone to get a loan for their housing," says Steve Davis.
Local Realtor Steve Davis talks about the plan.
"The thing I like about it is it's an effort to help us all recover," says Davis.
He says that for every four homes sold in the area one is foreclosed, a lower rate than the national average.
Economist Dr. Brian Strow says the new financing plan leaves responsible homeowners out in the cold.
"I would like it if they somehow lowered what I pay on my mortgage, I make my payments I'm not underwater, I was responsible when I put down equity on my house and I feel penalized," says Strow.
Strow says the program just doesn't help enough people.
"You're not helping people who are going to default, these are people who are making their payments, why are you giving them a break to people who in the sense aren't needing one?," Strow says.
The program's rules will be available November 15th.
Economy continues to improve in Maury Co. - WKRN News 2, Nashville
Posted: Sep 20, 2011 5:22 PM CDT
Reported By Karen Higbee, Reporter
SPRING HILL, Tenn. - Dozens of major retailers and small businesses are opening up in Maury County, bringing a large number of new jobs to the area.
A new Target Supercenter recently opened on Crossings Boulevard and a new Kroger marketplace in the northern part of Spring Hill.
Realtor Kristin Pendergraft of Crye Leike Realty told Nashville's News 2 the housing market in the area is also booming.
"In our office alone, our market is up 26.6% from last year at this time," she said, adding, "Honestly, there's so much happening in the market here with new jobs that I think a lot of it is people moving into the area."
According to Pendergraft, those looking to move to the area can find affordable housing.
"We are still very affordable, comparatively speaking for Middle Tennessee [and] Williamson County area, you get more bang for your buck," she said.
The growth to the area is expected to continue to grow as a Walmart Supercenter is scheduled to open in 2013 and with the announcement of General Motors reopening and bringing 1,700 jobs to the area.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The latest report by RealtyTrac found that foreclosures made up one in three home sales in the second quarter of 2011, which is up 24% from last year.
Becky Meagher has worked in the real estate business for 20 years. She told Nashville's News 2 she has been through the ups and downs in the economy and recently she has seen a broad spectrum of foreclosed home on the market.
"There are a lot of foreclosures. The economy is really hurting people," says Meagher.
Many homeowners are dealing with the burden of owning a property that is underwater.
Often times, they are forced to turn to short sales to avoid the financial fallout of a foreclosure.
Meagher said the cost of a foreclosed home can save a home buyer thousands of dollars.
For example, a custom six-year-old house was purchased for $185,000. The homeowners are forced to sell their home through a short sell for thousands less.
"The bank is now willing to sell the home, at 1919 28th Avenue North, for $99,500. It's a great thing for the buyers. They're getting a heck of a deal, three bedrooms, a big bonus room [and] a garage. It's great," she said.
The real estate expert said she believes the economy will eventually rebound, making it easier for home buyers to receive a loan.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Several celebrities have multi-million dollar homes here in the mid-state and sales of the homes have skyrocketed.
Nashville has seen one of the biggest jumps in the country for million dollar home sales. In the past year luxury home sales in the Nashville area are up more than 13-percent.
Experts believe this trend could eventually help to improve the overall housing market
For Crye-Leike realtor Judy Williams, recent business has been good.
"Right now we're in the heart of the market, the best time for real-estate is right now at this time of the year," said Williams.
On Monday, Williams took a bit of time to walk us through this spacious home in the Hampton Reserve community.
One five-bedroom home boasts a wine cellar, a theatre room, and study. It lists for about $1.2 million.
Since January of this year, 27 homes listed at more than a million dollars have been sold in Williamson County. That is up 58-percent from this time last year.
25 similar properties have sold in Davidson County, which is up 32-percent over last year.
"Tennessee is a state with no state income tax, and we have some of the prettiest homes in the country. You can get some much more for your money. We have clients come in here from California, Florida, Arizona and they're like absolutely blown away," Williams said.
Experts point to several factors leading to the increase in luxury home sales including a low interest rate and a more stable stock market.
"People were really nervous all the time but now people are really starting to feel confident in the economy," Williams added.
Williams also believes positive signs in the luxury housing will eventually open the entire market.
"I think people as they see the bigger homes starting to sell, I think across the board everyone starts to feel better about the situation," Williams told NewsChannel 5.
Realtors said a number of the million dollar homes in the Nashville area are only on the market for about six months.
Right now, several million dollar homes are on the market, including George Jones' Franklin estate, Sheryl Crow's farm and mansion in the College Grove community and Vince Young's home in Brentwood.
By Sarah Baker
VOL. 126 | NO. 26 | Tuesday, February 08, 2011
For the most part, Memphis has always been a traditional real estate town with the standard broker-seller relationship.
But that doesn't always work, and oftentimes sellers need the process to happen quicker than the conventional market will allow, said Bill Caller, broker with Crye-Leike Commercial.
Real estate auctions force the market to react. If there's a buyer out there, the seller gains some leverage by setting the date, time and terms. And because it's a cash sale, there's no negotiation, the property is sold as is and the buyer pays the commission instead of the seller in the form of a buyer's premium.
"The auction is the next wave," Caller said. "Five years ago if you would have told people in the real estate business that foreclosures and short sales would be standard order of business today, they would say you're crazy. But it's here."
As Crye-Leike Commercial's first principal auctioneer, Caller specializes in helping sellers gain leverage and get the best return on the real estate investments.
He chose Crye-Leike because of its known brand, name recognition, market saturation and buying power. Also appealing to Caller was Crye-Leike's ability to hold the auction at its headquarters on Quail Hollow Road in East Memphis if it's a multi-property and/or distressed sale.
Caller first approached Crye-Leike in September 2009 about having a full-service auction division to solicit internal agents and then external clients who have clients that may have a need for an expedited sale.
"In today's market, sellers are at a disadvantage in negotiating as far as the length of time that the property is on the market," Caller said. "Many sellers have realized that selling a property quickly is attractive as well as eliminating holding costs and actually taking control of the process in order to move on with their lives."
While sources such as television and eBay have provided some exposure to the auction process, people don't realize it is very dynamic and it can be customized to fit their needs as long as the auctioneer takes a realistic approach.
Caller's job is to evaluate those properties, determine how marketable they are, what level of demand there is, who the most likely buyer is and develop a marketing plan that aggressively goes after those items. All auctions are implied with reserve unless it specifically states absolute in advertising.
"We try to asses what the seller's financial position in the property is, what they would be willing to trade off in price for time and what is their risk tolerance level," Caller said. "I make a recommendation, laying out what I think is the best approach, the best plan and the best exposure as far as marketing goes to achieve the goal, which is to sell the property within a specific time frame."
Crye-Leike Auction Services can auction all types of real estate from residential and commercial to tracts of land, focusing on the Memphis metropolitan area, Jackson, Tenn., and Nashville. Caller has a goal of 20 properties to sell at auction this year alone, with projected growth in years to come.
In areas like Middle Tennessee, auctions are very much a part of the culture. Because natives have grown up attending auctions as a social event, selling real estate at auction is an easy segue for them, Caller said.
Crye-Leike's new division officially opened in November and its first property sale is slated for March 17. The 31,250-square-foot, bank-owned office building, 1124 Whitehall Street, in Jackson, has potential for an investor or owner-tenant plus four ready-to-develop commercial outparcels.
"The lender has held this property for a few years, and it's just at a point where they are ready to remove this from their portfolio," Caller said.
While Crye-Leike does have some national exposure, it is focusing mostly on regional industry and business specific marketing such as mail outs, targeting Jackson's economic development groups, the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce and attorneys.
"Getting them to the auction is half the battle, the rest is getting them to complete openly for that property," Caller said. "There are a lot of components involved with that to have a successful sale, but mostly it's how you market the property to potential bidders."
But the auction is not for everybody. There has to be a specific need and motivation of the seller to consider.
"It's not a shortcut to selling real estate," Caller said. "If the seller's risk tolerance is very low, the more restrictions you put on selling the property, it's going to have an adverse effect on the level of participation more than likely with the buyers which is what you don't want. You want the bidders to know that they are free and clear to bid on that property, and if they know that, they're willing to compete for it."
By Sarah Baker
VOL. 126 | NO. 24 | Friday, February 04, 2011
Crye-Leike Realtors Inc. continues to expand its standing as the largest real estate firm in the Mid-South area by merging with Memphis-based Coleman-Etter, Fontaine Realtors.
The decision was finalized Friday, and Fontaine Taylor, president and broker of the company, made the announcement Tuesday to her team. Taylor will remain a broker, but will now be a vice president of Crye-Leike and will continue to sell.
"She's going to sell and manage because her people are coming with us," said Dick Leike, president of Crye-Leike. "I don't know how many are going to come but those that come, I want them to feel as comfortable as they possibly can."
Founded in 1951, Coleman-Etter is among the oldest residential real estate firms in the Memphis area, with about 30 agents. Crye-Leike is the sixth largest firm in the United States, with just fewer than 900 agents.
"The business models for most everybody are changing," Taylor said. "As I saw it, we are a small office and Crye-Leike being a bigger organization has more access to tools and different things we can possibly to on our own. To me, I was looking out for the long-time interest of my agents and what the business models are going to be looking at. I didn't even talk to anybody but Crye-Leike, they're the ones that I wanted to be involved with."
The plan to join forces has been in the works for quite some time, Leike said, and it's a win-win for both parties.
"It's something we sort of bounced around for a period of time and got into some real serious discussions and said we think this will work, so we came to an agreement," Leike said. "Coleman-Etter always had a good niche market in what you might call the upper-crust communities in Memphis - Central Gardens, Chickasaw Gardens, Hedgemoor, East Memphis - it's a complement to us, in a lot of respects. It's an opportunity that we've always wanted, but now we have an opportunity, so we're taking advantage of it."
Coleman-Etter, Fontaine's office at 651 Oakleaf Office Lane will close and the staff and brokers will have the option to move to any of Crye-Leike's 18 locations in the city. The South Perkins Road Crye-Leike office is close to Coleman-Etter's current location, and most agents will chose to relocate there, Taylor said.
Coleman-Etter, Fontaine's white and blue colonial signs will gradually be replaced with Crye-Leike's familiar red and white. The Coleman-Etter, Fontaine name will see a change as well.
"?Coleman-Etter' will probably go dark, it won't be used," Leike said. "We may use some sort of transition that indicates that there is a connection there, but I don't think that we will be using the name from that standpoint."
Current economic times provide both firms with an opportunity for reposition.
"I see it as a sign of the times, but I also see it as to be competitive in today's world, you've got to combine forces to be able to do that," Taylor said.
Realty firm mergers are becoming more common in a declining market. In December, locally owned Kendall Haney Realty Group announced its merger with Austin, Texas-based Keller Williams Realty Inc. - the second-largest real estate firm in the Mid-South.
It wasn't the only example. The Memphis market's shaky conditions became evident in January 2009 when the realty offices of RE/MAX on the River and RE/MAX at Mallard Creek closed their doors, forcing about 42 agents to seek employment elsewhere.
"Since the summer of 2007, (the market) has certainly taken a downfall. It's been tough with a number of different brokers; this isn't the only one," Leike said. "You're always out there talking to people right now because of how real estate brokerage has had to reposition itself in the declining market that we've been placed with, and this is part of it."
While Crye-Leike has increased market share during the downturn, it too has taken a hit. At the height of the housing market, the firm had about 4,000 agents across the Mid-South. Now the Memphis-based firm has about 2,900 independent contractors.
"We sold 600 homes last month, so it's not a dead market, but when we were really rolling, we might have sold 1,000," Leike said.
By Tom Bailey Jr.
Memphis Commercial Appeal
Posted February 2, 2011 at 5:36 p.m., updated February 2, 2011 at 10:51 p.m.
The venerable Coleman-Etter, Fontaine Realtors is merging into the city's largest agency, Crye-Leike Realtors.
"I know it's harder and harder for the small companies to be able to compete with the big ones," said broker Fontaine Taylor, who reached the deal Friday with Dick Leike and announced it to her staff and agents Tuesday morning.
"I wanted to give my agents the best tools they could have," Taylor said. "I have every confidence in Crye-Leike and Dick Leike and (Crye-Leike general manager Steve Brown). ... I felt like it was a good fit."
Majorie Coleman and Fran Etter, among the first women admitted to the local Realtors association, founded the firm in 1951.
Taylor joined them in 1981 and bought her partners out in 1984.
Coleman-Etter, Fontaine Realtors used the dignified, white-painted, wood signs -- with the blue silhouette of a city skyline -- that often were posted in front of high-end homes in Midtown and East Memphis.
Leike described Coleman-Etter, Fontaine's niche as the "old Memphis market. Central Gardens, East Memphis, Hedgemore."
Taylor said, "We've been thought of as sellers of the higher-end homes. We have done a wonderful job."
The agency has three staff members and about 30 agents, and all have been invited to join Crye-Leike.
Taylor, who will be a vice president at Crye-Leike, said she's looking forward to becoming a full-time real estate agent again.
The Coleman-Etter, Fontaine office at 651 Oakleaf Office Lane will close.
"Coleman-Etter, Fontaine has some good agents," Dick Leike said. "... Fontaine has something she can add to it all, too. My theory is it's two good companies, and we can come together and build a stronger company."
The recession has rocked the real estate world the past four years.
Even a behemoth like Crye-Leike, the state's largest agency, has shrunk from more than 1,200 agents to under 900 in the Memphis area.
"It's becoming more and more difficult to run businesses in this kind of economic times we're in," Leike said. "When you think about it, we're doing half the business we did in 2007."
-- Tom Bailey Jr.: 529-2388
Memphis Business Journal - by Christopher Sheffield
Date: Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 3:03pm CST - Last Modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 3:11pm CST
Coleman-Etter, Fontaine Realtors is merging with Crye-Leike Inc.
Staff and brokers at Coleman-Etter, Fontaine were told of the merger Tuesday and are preparing for the final move by the end of February, said Fontaine Taylor, president and broker.
"In today's economy, more and more companies of all sorts are merging to give the best benefits to all agents," Taylor said.
Coleman-Etter was among the oldest residential real estate brokers in the Memphis area, founded in 1951, according to Memphis Business Journal's Book of Lists.
The broker had 34 agents in 2010.
The office at 651 Oakleaf Office Lane will close and Taylor and most of her staff and brokers will move to Crye-Leike's East Memphis office on South Perkins.
"I'll be a selling agent," Taylor said. "This is what I want to get back to."
She couldn't say how many of her current agents, around 30, would make the transition.
They were told to take their time and "not make any rash decisions," she says. "This was a shock for them."
Crye-Leike president Dick Leike says the company, the largest broker in Memphis with over 900 agents, is always looking for new agents and ways to gain market share. That's been harder to do in a down economy where the market is about half what it was in 2006 in terms of transactions.
"The only way to grow market share is to get more folks," he says.
Over the years Crye-Leike has acquired a number of firms, Leike said, one of the last come nearly 11 years ago with Pyramid Realtors.
"It's something we've always looked at," he said. "When opportunities come up, we try to take action."
firstname.lastname@example.org | (901) 259-1726
Crye-Leike Inc. has signed an exclusive agreement with a firm that specializes in facilitating residential short sales in a move to capture a bigger piece of that growing market.
Insight Securities Inc., dba Insight Short Sales, is a year-old firm that came to the attention of Crye-Leike's executive team after helping its brokers in Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas facilitate some deals, says Crye-Leike's Steve Brown, executive vice president and general manager, Memphis Region.
The number of short sales nationally has been largely stagnant the last few years, making up about half of all distressed sales, but Brown believes with the right education and technical assistance, short sales could be hot for the next couple of years.
Brown says an informal polling of Crye-Leike agents found that many were turning down listings because the seller was upside down on his mortgage, that is, owed more than the appraised value of the property. That meant they were walking away from potential business because handling short sales is time consuming and can be frustrating for all parties, he adds.
"The reality is agents have not, or prefer not, to do all of that legwork," Brown says, noting that anecdotally he's heard that six in 10 agents who try to execute a short sale give up.
To fill that niche, the Memphis-based real estate company looked for an entity with short sales expertise that didn't charge customers until the sale closed.
"They get paid on performance just like a Realtor," he says.
Crye-Leike signed an exclusive deal to use Insight Short Sales in the Tennessee market. The partnership kicked off in Memphis about two months ago, Brown says. If successful, it could roll out to Crye-Leike's other markets, he says, which includes 141 offices in eight states. Residential sales for the firm in the Memphis region have dropped from $1.3 billion in 2008 to $1.23 billion in 2009, and down about 7.9 percent through November. The company has 950 agents in Memphis, down from 1,330 a year ago.
Since its founding in 2009, Insight Short Sales has facilitated about 200 short sales totaling $15 million worth of property, says co-founder and senior partner Mark Hill. In December, it closed on 14, he says.
The key to Insights' software-based approach is how many times it reaches out to lenders to keep the process moving, Hill says, with the average being 38 touches from when the short sale process starts through approval, with an average process time of 90 to 120 days.
Because the process is so laborious and avoided by the industry, Hills says homeowners are generally not aware it is an option, which is why its use has been somewhat small but is expected to grow.
Research from the National Association of Realtors shows short sales have comprised 11 percent to 18 percent of all distressed property sales in the last two years, with foreclosures about double that.
Currently, it is estimated that about 7 million homeowners are behind on mortgage payments, Brown says. If short sales can be a viable option in foreclosures, that's business for Crye-Leike, he says.
"We've got to figure out a solution for agents to take that listing," he says.
Crye-Leike Inc. GM, Memphis Region: Steve Brown Address: 6525 Quail Hollow Phone: (901) 756-8900 Website: www.crye-leike.com.
email@example.com | (901) 259-1726
Submitted by Jeramia Trotter, WMCTV.com
Monday, November 15th, 11:32 am
In past years, the silent auction has raised thousands of dollars for the kids in Youth Village's care. Each year, the silent auction and raffle generates in excess of $10,000.
The seventh annual silent auction and raffle starts on Monday, Nov. 15 and will include more than 300 gift baskets with items donated by Amit's Hallmark. There will be autographed sports items, local ticket packages including a pair of 2011 season tickets to the University of Memphis football games and gift cards galore. A Honda Motorcycle with a street value of $1,500 is also up for auction.
Crye-Leike invites the public to come and shop and join their efforts in supporting Youth Villages. There will be lots of items that will make great gifts for the holidays, birthdays or any other occasions.
Auction items will be on display from Monday through Friday at the Crye-Leike Corporate Headquarters located at 6525 Quail Hollow Rd. in Memphis.
For more information, call the office at 901-756-8900.
List of Items:
?OVER 300 BEAUTIFUL GIFT BASKETS with some items donated by Amits Hallmark
?AUTOGRAPHED PRINT - TITANS BY CORTLAND FINNEGAN
?2 $75 GIFT CERTIFICATES FROM THE DENT DOCTOR
?AUTOGRAPHED BASKETBALL - U OF M HEAD COACH PASTNER
?AUTOGRAPHED BASKETBALL - U OF M HEAD COACH PASTNER
?AUTOGRAPHED BASKETBALL - U of M HEAD COACH PASTNER
?(10) PICTURE NAME STRIPS by D & D signs
?(6) PREMIER PROPERTY SIGNS or 6 PERSONALIZED PANELS by Dee Signs
?(2) UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS FOOTBALL - 2011 SEASON TICKETS
?$50.00 FOLK'S FOLLY GIFT CARD
?1 NIGHT @ FITZ CASINO & HOTEL + LUNCH VOUCHERS
?$15 HUEYS GIFT CARD
?RIVERKING'S AUTOGRAPHED PENANT & GOODIE BAG
?(4) RIVERKING'S TICKETS - RED LEVEL FLEX PACK- 2010-11 SEASON
?(6) $25 INCREDIBLE PIZZA GIFT CARDS
?$50 MELTING POT GIFT CERTIFICATE
?$50 MELTING POT GIFT CERTIFICATE
?$50 LOWES CARD donated by American Home Shield
?6 TICKETS FERDINAND THE BULL FOR 2/8/2011 Orpheum Theatre
?2 HOURS OF BOWLING FOR 4 WITH SHOES,PIZZA AND SODA AT FUNQUEST COLLIERVILLE
?BOWLING BIRTHDAY PARTY AND FUNQUEST COLLIERVILLE
?(2) SUNDAY BRUCH FOR TWO AT HOLIDAY INN U OF M
?GRIZZLIE AUTOGRAPHED BALL BY ASSISTANT COAC H DAMON STOUDAMIRE
?GRIZZLIE XL T SHIRT AND BAG
?(4) MEMPHIS ZOO PASSES
?NASCAR AUTOGRAPHED PRINT BY DENNY HAMLIN
?TIN OF QUALITY STREET AND HERO'S (GOOD ENGLISH CHOCOLATE)
?(2) BOXES OF THORNTONS CHOCOLATE
?LEATHER WRITING PAD donated by Zebra Marketing
?ONE NIGHT STAY AT HORSESHOE CASINO expires 5/30/2011 with $50 dining dollars
?$100 HORSESHOE DINING DOLLARS
?8 PINK PALACE PASSES
?1 NIGHT STAY AT BALLY'S CALID UNTIL MAY 15 2011
?8 MUSEUM PASSES TUNICA RIVER PARK
?1 SEASON SUBSCRIPTION 2010/2011 PLAYHOUSE ON THE SQUARE
?HANDED KNITTED BABY DRESSES
?$25 GIFT CARD donated by Home Services
?1971 HONDA CB 350 donated by Tracy Kirkley
?MISSISSIPPI STATE CHILD STOOL hand made by J D Clarkson
?UNIVERSITY PLAQUES hand made by J D Clarkson
?PEN SET hand made by Bill Edwards Mt Juliet office
?COFFEE Donated by Royal Cup Coffee
Information provided by Crye-Leike.
Posted: Oct 27, 2010 5:20 PM CDT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - While still down, Middle Tennessee's real estate market fared better than larger cities during the recession.
According to the Case-Shiller home price index, home prices are back where they were in 2003 nationwide and over the last year, home values in 20 of the country's largest cities grew 1.7%.
The bad news is that in 15 of those 20 cities, prices dropped between July and August of this year.
In Nashville that's not necessarily true, according to local realtors like Becky Meagher with Crye-Leike.
"Ours has been much more [in the] middle of the road," Meagher explained.
"If you look in areas like Las Vegas, they have had tremendous growth up and then down," she continued.
In Middle Tennessee, according to Meagher, home values are dependent on where the house is located as values are better in some areas over others.
"[Vanderbilt University] drives people to that area, no matter what the economy, you're going to have Vanderbilt and Music Row and people still want to be there," Meagher said, adding if you're in the market to buy a home, now is a great time.
"The rates are the best in 40 years," she said.
Crye-Leike's office in Green Hills will host a first time homebuyer's seminar on November 9 to educate people on everything you need to know before buying a home.
The educational seminar begins at 5:30 p.m. and is free to attend.
By Nancy Mueller ? FOR WILLIAMSON A.M. ? October 1, 2010
COLUMBIA, Tenn. ? A lifelong love for Halloween has led real estate agent David Miller into a scary sideline.
When he isn't selling houses in the Spring Hill area, he runs a growing enterprise called Miller's Thrillers that produces a Halloween experience venue, The Haunted Woods, at a farm in Maury County.
Starting tonight, The Haunted Woods will be open to fright-seekers for "showings" 7-11 p.m. on all Friday and Saturday nights in October. The attraction also will be open on two Sundays, Oct. 24 and 31.
Although The Haunted Woods is only in its third year, it has established a following.
Miller says last year's Haunted Woods drew 2,900 customers and he expects to top that number in 2010.
To prepare for this year's Halloween season, he and his team earlier this year attended the International Haunt Convention in St. Louis, where they picked up the latest ideas for scaring the wits out of their customers.
"We'll be showcasing several of those new ideas in this year's haunt," Miller said.
For a $10 ticket, The Haunted Woods offers an unguided outdoor trail that features two mazes through woods and a simulated swamp, leading up to a "barn of terror." The whole thing takes up more than five acres of a farm owned by Mark and Mary Voll on Greens Mill Road, just south of Spring Hill.
Going through the feature, which includes some interactive experiences with actors, takes about 45 minutes.
Miller, an accredited buyers' representative who is based with Crye-Leike Realtors in Spring Hill, said his enjoyment of Halloween merged with his business instincts a long time ago.
"When I was a little kid, I used to grow pumpkins on my grandfather's farm and sell them," he said.
"I sold them on a street corner (in Spring Hill) for $3 apiece. I remember one day, I made $80 in only about an hour."
As a realty agent, he's working with somewhat bigger numbers.
Miller's Thrillers is spending between $15,000 and $20,000 to create The Haunted Woods and Miller is hoping to gross $40,000 from ticket sales by the close of business Halloween night.
As much as he enjoys creating a haunted experience for other people, Miller doesn't do haunted houses himself.
"I was always too scared to go to a haunted house," he said.
He says that he has never sold one to anybody, either.
Watch The Story Online @ http://www.todaysthv.com/news/business/story.aspx?storyid=114772&catid=119
By Reporter Jessica Duff
Home sales for July plunged to the lowest level in 15 years in the U.S., despite the lowest mortgage rates, and bargain prices in many areas of the country. But what does it mean for Arkansas as many continue to struggle to survive the economy?
The Arkansas Realtors Association released the June 2010 Housing report Tuesday.
The ARA has yet to release the state's July numbers, but Maurice Taylor with Crye-Leike Realty says Arkansas shouldn't be nearly as bad as the rest of the nation.
"I think we'll probably be down just a little bit just because the tax credit actually. There was anticipation that the tax credit was gonna end. So some of that pent up demand may have closed in the month of July and may have spilled over at the end of June," Taylor says.
The report shows a less than one (0.56) percent increase in houses sold in June this year compared to June last year. Saline (20.17%) and Sebastian (20.19%) counties saw the greatest increase. While Pulaski County saw a nearly 2 percent (-1.79%) decline.
Since January, Arkansas has seen an 8.3% increase in sales state-wide. Saline County had the greatest increase at 22 percent (22.34%) while Pulaski County was just below one percent (-0.79%).
Taylor says most regions are seeing a decline but that's not the case for the south.
"The numbers show that the south out of all the areas in the nation had the least amount in drop in sales. Nationally numbers look pretty bad but here on a local level, we're not doing bad at all. And, like I said, this is a perfect time to put your house on the market or to buy a house, no better time than the present," Taylor adds.
Just to give you some perspective, in Las Vegas, Nevada, 92% of homeowners are upside down on their mortgages. Their homes are not worth what they owe on them.
Read The Story Online @ http://www.memphisdailynews.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=52301
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
JEFF IRELAND | Special to The Daily News
Cautiously optimistic. That would be a pretty accurate phrase to describe the mood of condominium brokers who sell primarily in Downtown Memphis.
Sales in the county's densest condo submarket totaled just eight in July, a 53 percent decline from 17 the same month a year ago, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
But 2010 has given Realtors a reason to remain optimistic despite last month's poor showing. Downtown has seen 87 condo sales through the first seven months of the year, a 28 percent improvement from 68 condos during the same span in 2009.
"It's certainly picked up since last year," said Jason Durston of Crye-Leike Realtors Inc. "With things like tax credits and low interest rates, it's going good, but we're still not back to the heyday of the market. ? This past week I closed on three."
Joel Hobson of Hobson Co. Realtors has sold 19 condos in the Goodwyn Condominiums at 127 Madison Ave. The building's 21 unsold condos had been foreclosed last fall, leaving the future of the historic building in doubt.
But First Tennessee Bank NA hired Hobson to market and sell the remaining units, and the tower's turnaround has become a success story, even though the condos were sold at severely reduced prices.
"There's always a demand for condos Downtown," Hobson said. "The problem has been oversupply. Prices have come down and some people have been willing to come down on their prices. But some have not been willing to do that and have decided to lease."
Sue Tines, a broker for Downtown Condo Connection, has certainly sold her share of condos in the Downtown area.
Over the last few years, many of those sales occurred in the South Main Historic Arts District, but in recent months Tines has been focusing on selling condos in the Pinch District at a new development called River Merchant Lofts, 497 N. Front St., near the Pyramid.
When the University of Memphis and Memphis Grizzlies basketball teams quit playing in the Pyramid and moved to FedExForum, the Pinch District suffered. More than one restaurant closed and the area was no longer a hot spot.
But Tines is hoping that when Bass Pro Shops moves into the Pyramid the area will be rejuvenated, thus improving the condo market there.
"So far I've sold four of 19 units there," Tines said of River Merchant Lofts, which has been converted from an old river merchants' building, using much of the original design and materials. "I feel like the North End is about to pick up."
When the economy is not going well, the trend is for people to rent instead of buy. For someone who's not sure where their next paycheck is going to come from, the prospect of a large down payment and a long-term commitment can be daunting. It's also tough for someone without a steady income to qualify to buy.
That has led to more renters and, of course, increased the allure of Downtown apartment complexes like Metro 69 and The Washburn.
But in a more traditional real estate market, which brokers hope is coming, there's still a place for buyers.
"Usually you're either a renter or a buyer," said Durston. "It's two totally different groups. People who want to buy condos don't rent, and people who want to rent don't buy."
Another positive sign for the Downtown condo market is the price for which units have been selling. Generally speaking, prices have remained steady or increased.
Last month, the average selling price for Downtown condos was $227,813, up 8 percent from $210,523 in July 2009. The averaging selling price from January to July this year has risen slightly compared to 2009.
The average price per square foot has dipped a little ($137.18 this year, $144.16 last year), but brokers believe things are headed in the right direction.
"I sold two this week for full price," Durston said. "We went through some rough times with foreclosures, but I think it can be healthy. That got some inventory off the market. I'm a firm believer that there's a stressed market and a healthy market. I think we're getting back to a somewhat healthy market."
Tines said plenty of people are still looking to live in Downtown, an area that offers unique amenities.
"I don't think we're overbuilt right now," she said. "I've lived in Memphis my whole life and I've seen a lot of people who live in the suburbs for a while but want that urban feeling again."
By Greg Rayburn / Staff Writer / firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, August 13, 2010 9:21 AM CDT
On July 31, some Maumelle Realtors and brokers braved the heat and erected a tent to collect donations of cash and school supplies for the CASA program. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates and the organization's purpose is to look out for the needs of foster children who are within the judicial system.
"We want the community to know that we aren't just about selling real estate," said Realtor Lisa Halloway-Sugg. "We want to do our part in helping the community."
2010 marks the first year Crye-Leike took part in a CASA school supply fund-raiser. Its tent was erected near the parking lot of NBA Bank on Country Club Parkway. The real estate agency's Maumelle office on Audubon Drive also provided a drop-off point for anyone who wanted to donate money or supplies.
Halloway-Sugg said the CASA collection is one of four community projects Maumelle's Crye-Leike Office takes part in annually. The office also collects food for the Arkansas Foodbank Network. Crye-Leike also collects coats during the winter and also collects used bicycles and refurbishes them as part of the North Pulaski Board of Realtors' Spokes for Little Folks program.
Real Estate broker Betty Coney said the Realtors' board collects bicycles from people who are getting ready to throw away and refurbishes them so they can be given to needy children at Christmas time.
Amanda Butler of Crye-Leike said she knows it's very helpful when groups raise money to buy school supplies. Besides being a Realtor she also works as a teacher.
"It's great when teachers get help with the school supplies for the children," Butler said. "A lot of money from teachers goes into school supplies for their children. Teachers make sure they won't let their children go without."
By Tom Bailey Jr.
Memphis Commercial Appeal
Posted August 4, 2010 at midnight
One real estate agent goes paperless as often as possible, having clients sign digital contracts with a stylus.
Another essentially carries his office in his smart phone, finding answers there to every conceivable question clients ask.
Another stays connected to her clients on Facebook and Twitter.
Still another regularly e-mails 1,500 past clients the latest sales data for houses in their neighborhoods.
Crye-Leike Realtors held a tech fair Tuesday for agents, but for some, like these four, it was preaching to the choir.
In the lobby of the agency's Quail Hollow office in East Memphis, vendors pitched their smart phones, cameras and computers.
After all, Tammy Deane of Wolf Camera said, photographs of bathrooms and kitchens are better with a wide-angle lens.
But just off the lobby in her office, agent Melissa Hayes was already plugged in, working at two computer screens. Every minute or so they emitted a sound that signaled an incoming message. (Any telephone voice messages are transcribed by Google Voice and sent to her by e-mail or text.)
An agent for 23 years, Hayes now uses a new database management system that allows her to add the social media information for all her clients, showing her what each has been posting on Facebook and Twitter.
Realizing Facebook is more social than business, Hayes uses a light touch in her postings.
At 10:48 a.m. Friday, for example, she posted some good news about mortgage rates to her 889 friends: "15 year conventional is 3.75%. Seriously??? Incredible!!!"
At 9:49 that night, a woman named Sandy responded: "Wow! What is a 20-30 year loan rate running?"
In the lobby, the dapper Stanley Mills, a Bluetooth phone headset attached to one ear, stood in his seersucker suit at Apple's booth to hear about that company's sleek products.
But Mills already has been using Apple's latest, the iPad. He was among the early agents to use computers and cell phones to make his work more efficient, and he's still riding the tech wave.
He has been with Crye-Leike so long -- 34 years -- his ID badge is No. 16.
His newest tech tool is a program to e-mail 1,500 former clients monthly reports about sales in their neighborhoods.
Mills even tells them the price per square foot fetched in the latest neighborhood sales.
A home is often a person's biggest investment, so keeping up with neighboring house values is like checking your stock prices, Mills said.
"I haven't found anybody who said, 'I don't care what's going on in my neighborhood. Don't send it to me,' '' he said.
The need for timely information and answers is why agent Chet Whitsitt keeps an iPhone in his pocket to access all his files.
"People want information and they want it now," said Whitsitt, an agent with Crye-Leike since 1985.
Even all the sales contracts he deals with are accessible.
If, after a closing, a client calls asking how many days she has to move out of the house, Whitsitt can check his smart phone and tell her.
If he's driving around with a client and the client expresses curiosity about a house they pass, Whitsitt picks up his phone, goes to realtor.com, types the address and shows interior photos of the house. If the client is still interested, they arrange to go inside.
And since the phone has GPS, it shows every house for sale nearby.
Whitsitt looked at the smart phone he held in his hands and said, "It's phenomenal what this has done."
David Ernst, with less than six years' experience, is relatively new to real estate. To get his foot in the door, he specialized in selling expired listings. That's real estate's version of cold cases. Before long, he received other referrals.
Ernst brought to Crye-Leike a passion for going paperless. He brings his tablet computer with him everywhere and uses paperless software.
The multipage listing and sales contracts can be unwieldy, especially since multiple copies of each must be printed for all the parties.
When it's time to sign a contract, Ernst opens his tablet computer and hands the client a stylus to sign with. It's like signing for a credit purchase at a department store.
The technology also saves Ernst the trouble of hauling around copies of blank forms. As long as he has his computer, he never worries about forgetting to bring a form.
Going paperless, he said, "alleviates so much heartache and headache."
Each agent exploits technology his or her own way, said Landis Foy, managing broker at Crye-Leike's regional headquarters. But he identified one trait they have in common: They're all very successful.
-- Tom Bailey Jr.: 529-2388
View The Story Online http://www.todaysthv.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=109489&catid=2
By Reporter: Katherina-Marie Yancy
Posted: July 18, 2010
The home buyer tax credit brought out buyers, boosting the market. The incentive is now over, but demand is still up due to historically low interest rates.
While we can't predict how long the interest rate will stay below 5%, the lowest average since 1971, this latest incentive could help the housing market step toward recovery and help more families have a place to call home.
Lock boxes are on doors, the open house sign possibly points to your next home and realtors say the housing market has returned to a buyers market.
Karla Martin is a sales associate for Crye-Leike. She explains, "Interest rates are so incredibly low, they're under five-percent right now which allows a home buyer to get much more of a house for their money. Or buy a smaller house and have extremely low payments, lower than renting a property actually."
Martin is showing a lakefront home with all the amenities. It's priced to sell but there is a lot of competition. She adds, "The inventory is higher."
And because buyers know they're in the driver seat, they are taking their time, being more selective and putting in lower than normal offers because if they are denied, they know there are more choices.
Martins laughs, "We call them low-ball offers. They are trying to get the best deal they can. The seller pretty much sticks to the price they have as far as what we've seen because it's already a good deal."
As rates fall to a historic low, lenders are raising the bar, making it harder to qualify.
Realtor Krista Tressner says, "I know it can be very discouraging if you don't get approved at the first bank you go to but we really encourage people to continue to look."
Tressner is in the market for a home because of the mortgage rates. Although the tax credit gave folks immediate gratification, Tressner says, long-term, with rates this low, you can get more bang for your buck.
She continues, "If you consider some people will own a home for 30 years and they'll pay that mortgage out. You're saving a lot more than $8,000 in that time."
The game has changed a bit but there are still winners. Martin concludes, "We're still receiving phone calls, we're listing homes and we're still selling homes. It is really good."
Martin says time will tell if the low mortgage rates will increase the housing demand once again.
NICKY ROBERTSHAW HITCHING | Special to The Daily News
It's likely you've never met her, but you know who she is: The powerhouse real estate agent with the blonde helmet hairstyle and cell phone glued to her ear. After all, Judy McLellan's image has been a fixture at bus stops, in advertising and on billboards for years.
While the no-swing hairdo might be a style throwback, McLellan's commitment to using the latest communication tools is strictly modern. She has embraced Facebook and Twitter to connect with the younger generation to promote her business, and is constantly looking for the next thing.
"When I heard about Twitter, I said, ?I don't really understand it, but I want to do it,'" McLellan recalled. "It is so important to reach the next generation of homebuyers, and that's where they are."
McLellan and her "JudyMac" team of four to five employees form a company within a company at Crye-Leike Inc.'s plush East Memphis headquarters. She promotes herself as "the #1 Realtor for the Mid-South's #1 Real Estate Company," and is managing to stay on top despite the worst real estate market of her career. She did $51 million in sales in 2009.
"She's sincere and honest, and certainly gains folks' trust," said Dick Leike, president of Crye-Leike. "That's what it takes in this business. Plus, I don't know if anyone is as visible as she is."
McLellan, who radiates good cheer yet is surprisingly mellow in person, focuses on working one-on-one with clients. She leaves the details to Mickey McLellan, her husband of 31 years and an experienced marketing executive who joined in the mid-1990s as business and marketing manager.
The JudyMac team specializes in homes in East Memphis, Germantown and Collierville, with the bulk of their business in relocation. To that end, she has worked for FedEx Corp., International Paper and area hospital corporations.
A big part of the job is selling Memphis to corporate executives, doctors and others who are considering a move to this area. It calls for out-chambering the Greater Memphis Chamber, and McLellan has become adept at that task.
"I tell them, ?You are going to love this place, and let me tell you why,'" McLellan said. "Once I have an audience and can get with them, the rest is easy."
McLellan and her team have had to adjust to the current real estate woes, as home values have dropped, mortgage lending has tightened up and new house construction all but stopped in 2007.
Her operation has shifted from selling builder homes, which had been 30 percent of their business in 2006, to resales. In addition, her focus shifted from top-dollar homes to those in the $200,000 to $400,000 range, rather than the $417,000-plus purchases that require expensive jumbo loans.
She sees signs that things are improving this year, including the return of multiple offers.
"At open houses, we see that the consumer attitude is more upbeat," McLellan said. "Hearing that firsthand makes me feel much better."
McLellan, who has been in the suburban residential real estate business almost 35 years, came into it naturally. She grew up in Germantown, where her mother, Frances Hall Blanton, was a real estate agent, and her father, Cecil Hall, was a builder. McLellan, who has also performed locally as a singer, began in 1976 working with her mother, who taught her the business and shared her commissions until McLellan got on her feet.
"She was a wonderful, wonderful mentor," McLellan said.
She joined Crye-Leike in 1985, and when her husband joined her in the mid-1990s, they made a commitment to taking the business to the next level. They hired a top national marketing firm, created a brand identity based on McLellan's image and papered it all over town.
As a result, not only did she become a household name locally, she also became Crye-Leike's top agent in 1997, and has kept that No. 1 spot ever since. Her best year was 2006, when she did $75 million in sales volume.
The McLellans said that they were the first in this market to use now-ubiquitous color-photo brochures, and among the first to embrace the Internet as a marketing tool.
The McLellans clearly love what they do, and even on vacation - they often travel to California's Big Sur - eat, breathe and sleep real estate.
"I may get tired," McLellan said, "but I never get tired of this business. I love the personal contact."
JONATHAN DEVIN | Special to The Daily News
Reading the recovery of the commercial real estate market in the last year has been like picking a horse at the races with largely unknown odds, but Mack Browder is putting his money on an old favorite to pull through in the end.
"The industrial market in Memphis has continued to improve," said Browder, an affiliate broker with Crye-Leike commercial division. "They just announced the lease of about an 800,000 square foot building down on Lamar called the Summit Distribution Center #2. "There's a continuing uptick in activity of people wanting more space," Browder said. "We're feeling real good about the industrial market being in balance here in town."
The expansion lease by Technicolor created about 150 jobs, something market analysts in any major city would be glad to hear, and may indicate that existing commercial properties are learning to function with lowered property values.
Browder, a native of Munford, Tenn., graduated from high school in Osceola, Ark., in the same class with Harold Crye, co-founder of Crye-Leike. He went to Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, Ark., on a full football scholarship and emerged with a accounting degree and a CPA certificate.
Browder worked in public accounting for 35 years before becoming a real estate broker, something that came in handy in many of his business transactions. In the late 1980s he got involved in overseeing business mergers and acquisitions, whose negotiations often involved large pieces of real estate.
"Mergers and acquisitions in this market is typically where a person 65 to 75 years old comes to you and says I've got a business over here and my children don't want to go into it, so I need to get all I can for it because this is 90 percent of my estate, it's my retirement," said Browder. "In representing them, you go out and find buyers for them and keep everything confidential until closing."
In one deal involving a furniture company in northern Mississippi, Browder lost a substantial fee because of a licensing issue with his real estate broker. Then he decided to do the real estate work himself.
"(Crye and I) were teenage friends and I was the accountant for his young company for years," said Browder. "Over the years we stayed in contact and when the opportunity came about there wasn't much debate about where I'd go."
Browder avoided the residential side of the business from the start owing to the emotional nature of decisions surrounding the sale of a home.
Commercial real estate has several major divisions - multi-family, retail, office, industrial and manufacturing and land for development.
Multi-family properties struggled the least as more and more homeowners sought rentals after foreclosures and job losses.
Land suffered the most with developers unable to sell their inventory.
"There's blood in the streets for developers right now," said Browder.
Retail and industrial real estate, while hit hard, seem to be making slow, steady recoveries though.
Browder pointed to the closing of big box appliance giant Circuit City, which left massive buildings, some anchoring strip malls, vacant.
"The fear was that the space would go unoccupied for an extended period of time," said Browder. "Well, over the last 90 days to six months, indications have been that more retailers are taking up that space, so retail is coming into balance."
On the industrial side, the shock of major companies streamlining their businesses has started to wear off, and the leaner operations often rebrand with new products, which create the need for facilities and employees.
That kind of recovery may come slower than the high-profit, high-risk bubbles of the last decade, but is more likely to last.
"We're probably at what most people feel is close to the bottom of the commercial real estate market," said Dan Whipple, president/managing broker for Crye-Leike Commercial, who has worked with Browder for 10 years.
"The capitalization rates in the investment markets are about the highest number we've seen in 10 years, maybe longer. Most of the information I read by commentators around the country seem to indicate that this quarter or next quarter is very likely the bottom of the commercial market."
Whipple said that Browder's finance and accounting background is a resource not many brokers have.
"His background gives him a great insight into the business and contracts," said Whipple. "It's very unusual to find a real estate broker who also has a CPA background."
Last year, Browder was honored by the Memphis Area Association of Realtors with a Pinnacle Award for top sales in the industrial sector.