Shelby County Mortgage Market Up 3 Percent in November

Published on: December 18, 2017

By Andy Meek, Memphis Daily News

With most of the final quarter of the year now in the books, area bankers continue to sound a pretty consistent theme: that 2017 has proven to be a busy year as far as mortgage activity goes.

Those executives include Orion Federal Credit Union CEO Daniel Weickenand, for example, who said his institution expects its mortgage business – which was strong in 2017 – to be just as active “and possibly better” in 2018. And the latest monthly mortgage figures from real estate information company Chandler Reports,, help show why that’s the case.

Year-over-year monthly gains for Shelby County’s mortgage market has been a pattern for most of this year, a trend that held true through November. The market saw a 3 percent gain in purchase mortgage volume during the month, rising to a little more than $174 million compared with $168.9 million in November 2016.

Over that same period, lenders did make fewer individual mortgages – 921 last month, compared with 933 in November 2016 – but the average amount of those mortgages got bigger.

The average mortgage last month was $188,986, up 4.4 percent from $181,091 in November 2016.

Those same patterns are also present when comparing October and November of this year. The number of mortgages slipped from 928 in October to 921 last month, but the average mortgage dollar amount and the total volume both rose.

November saw an improvement over both October’s $181,388 average dollar amount and the $168.3 million in total volume for the month.

Evolve Bank and Trust president and CEO Scott Stafford said rising interest rates tapped the brakes on his institution’s mortgage volume by about 20 percent. But Evolve has been mitigating that through mortgage office expansion and adding new loan officers.

“Purchase money transactions have been robust, and we feel this sector of our business will continue to be strong through 2018,” Stafford said. “Overall, volumes continue to be reasonably strong, and demand has been constant. We look forward to another good year in 2018.”

In addition to considering where things stand on a monthly basis, looking back at the entirety of 2017 to this point shows an even bigger percentage improvement in the mortgage market. Year-to-date volume through Nov. 30 was a little more than $1.9 billion, up from a little more than $1.75 billion during the same period in 2016.

The number of mortgages and the average dollar amount of those mortgages also showed solid improvement over that same timespan. Lenders made 10,533 mortgages through Nov. 30, compared with 9,725 over the same period in 2016, and the average mortgage amount year-to-date is also up, to $182,147 compared with $180,229 at the same point in 2016.

“Although inventory in the Memphis area remained relatively low, favorable interest rates allowed for continued momentum within our mortgage division,” Financial Federal Bank loan officer Taylor Maury said about the November activity. “We expect these positive market conditions to continue into 2018 and look forward to continued economic growth in the Mid-South.”