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Old 05-10-2006, 11:15 AM
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Post Home prices up; condos down

The price of a house in the Nashville area rose for the third consecutive month, but condominium prices fell, according to the latest data from the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.

The median price for a single-family house rose to $172,900 in April, up 2 percent from March and 12 percent from a year ago. The median price is the highest since December, when it set a record of $174,900.

"These are really solid numbers," said Christie Wilson, the association's president and managing broker of the Wilson Group Real Estate Services.

The median sales price of a condo, meanwhile, fell for the fourth straight month to $134,040. That's 4 percent less than in March and 20 percent less than the record price of $168,275 set in December.

But the median price for a condo was still nearly 12 percent higher than a year ago.

Two factors have combined to temporarily drive down closing prices, agents said. One is a lull in condo sales in central Nashville. The biggest deal in the condo market last month was the 423-unit Icon in the Gulch on 12th Avenue South. Buyers in that building are making reservations on units, but the sales contracts will not actually close until construction is completed in 2008.

The second factor is a rise in the number of condos being built in outlying areas, such as Wilson, Rutherford and Cheatham counties. Prices there are typically lower than in the downtown area.

"(The drop in prices) doesn't really compute with the image that I'm seeing," said Mark Deutschmann, founder of Village Real Estate, a Hillsboro Village firm that specializes in downtown condo sales.

Other indicators suggest demand will remain high and prices will continue to rise throughout the housing market.

The total number of houses and condos for sale has risen 8 percent over the last year to 14,984 properties on the market at the end of April. But the number of closings in April held more or less steady at 3,236 properties, up about 3 percent from a year earlier. The average time a house remains on the market has also fallen by a week, to 63 days.

"We have not had a dip," Wilson said. "To me the very intriguing thing is the level of buyers and sellers that are out there." ē

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