We Asked a Real Estate Agent and Loan Officer About Nashville’s Real Estate Market
|In New Orleans, the conversation always turns to food. In Nashville, it’s real estate. Sure, people love to talk music. But a big factor in making Nashville work for you is finding a place to stay. Once you’re ready to move beyond renting, you begin to explore home ownership. But the learning curve with credit and mortgages can be steep. And all the chatter about surging prices can be overwhelming. If you’re a musician, how do you compete with seasoned buyers and investors who make cash offers above the asking price?
I sat with with two sponsors of this year’s “Bands & Boil” to discuss the state of Nashville’s real estate market, and how musicians can best position themselves to become home owners.
Realtor Vida Wakeman began her real estate career with Crye-Leike’s East Nashville branch office in 2019. Coming from the music and service industries, her top priority has always been delivering superior service to her clients. From the start of her real estate career, Wakeman has consistently implemented her philosophy that real estate should improve people’s lives. I spoke with her about the trends affecting today’s homebuyers in Music City.
In 2022, Nashville’s real estate market was red hot and surging. Has this trend cooled? In contrast to last year, how would you describe the current market for homebuyers? Sellers?
VW: The Nashville market continues to stay strong. Home prices are still rising and people are still buying and selling. What is different are interest rates. The increase has made it more expensive to buy (as your monthly mortgage would be higher), and motivated sellers to hold onto their homes. Don’t forget, they likely bought at good rates several years ago! That said, this really shouldn’t be the deciding factor for a buyer/seller. Rates can shift and people can refinance along those lines, but getting into this market is a great investment. Buyers are there and sellers are doing well to move their equity around.
The median home price in the Nashville area currently exceeds $400,000, pricing out most musicians and artists. Do you think this city’s creative community will be supplanted by dual-income professionals? For musicians or service industry workers who are unable to afford East Nashville, where else should they look?
VW: I believe the creative community will do what it always does and get more creative. It will find the areas that are upcoming and affordable, even if that means living outside of East Nashville and Madison. The area we all know and love has become VERY PRICEY, so it makes sense that dual- or high-income individuals are moving there. To avoid that competition, people are moving towards are Madison, Joelton, Whites Creek, Ashland City, Donelson, and Old Hickory. Two overlooked areas worth considering are North Nashville and Dickson!
You initially came to Nashville as a musician, long before its recent growth. As a real estate agent who has observed the city’s expansion, where do you see Nashville in 10 years? 20 years?
VW: I see today’s Nashville as still being in its teenage years. There are still so many areas that are fertile for growth. The river is still wide open and many projects have been approved or are in the works. It will be amazing to see how they affect the city when completed. The “Atlanta comparison” to me is accurate as far as gauging growth here. I just hope that city planners remain super-vigilant as to how they allow the growth to happen. They need to make a bona fide effort to maintain some of what longtime residents love about this city!
Even the most rural corners of Tennessee are seeing new housing developments. Where should lovers of the Great Outdoors look if they want to experience natural beauty that has yet to be touched by Tennessee’s explosive growth?
VW: The Chattanooga area. Great hiking trails!
As with everything else, the cost of eating out in Nashville has surged. What’s your favorite local restaurant for a family outing that won’t break the bank?
VW: El Fuego is my favorite place to chill with my family. The outdoor area is amazing and we would go regardless of what food they served haha.
Celia Anzalone-Bowers is a loan officer with CMG Financial. When she’s not on the phone with a client or hosting “Lunch & Learns” for realtors, she’s racing in triathlons and spending time with the three loves of her life: husband, Dane, and her twin 4 year-year-old boys, Preston and Tristan. I spoke with Celia about the challenges of mortgage lending in 2023.
As a loan officer for CMG Financial, what trends have you observed in Nashville’s lending market since 2022? What challenges are loan officers and buyers experiencing? How are these trends affecting home sellers?
CB: Mortgage rates have gone up, and that can be perceived as a negative to prospective homebuyers. However, last year it was really tough to win an offer on a home, let alone receive any closing costs covered by the seller. It feels more like a buyer’s market now. That’s the up side for buyers. They won’t have to waive all inspections or pay over list price to win an offer. Marry the house, date the rate.
In 2022, interest rates were inching up, but this past year has seen a much more significant surge. With the current average rate nearly at 7%, should prospective homebuyers wait for rates to drop? As a loan officer, do you have any insight as to where interest rates could go in the next year and beyond?
CB: It seems like the rates may go up a bit more this year, but what goes up must come down. I’m just not sure when. I would not wait for rates to drop, but if they do, I can refinance you with no lender fees if they do drop within the next five years.
Musicians may not always have the best credit record. This goes hand in hand with borrowing money to finance recordings, promotion, and touring. What advice would you give to a musician in this situation who still dreams of being a homeowner?
CB: Get with me! After I study their credit profile, I can tell them exactly what they need to do to become eligible.
What challenges do first time buyers in Nashville face when financing a house purchase? What about homeowners who are selling their current house and moving elsewhere?
CB: It can be overwhelming. All the terminology and acronyms lenders throw at you, combined with jargon you may read online. That’s where I come in! You need a lender who has the emotional bandwidth to help you navigate new territory during a very exciting but life-altering event.
For sellers, you may not make as much money as you would have a year ago, but you should have a ton of equity and call it a win – even if you must pay some closing costs.
Nashville has gained national prominence as a “food destination”. What special occasion restaurants do you love?
CB: I stick with what I know. Change can be so scary! I love Kayne Prime & Sperry’s. And if you feel like going to Cool Springs, Perry’s Steakhouse is the best out of all of them!