Research firm CoreLogic says the Nashville-area housing market continues to heal if you're looking at it through the lens of seriously delinquent mortgages. In March, 4.2 percent of area home loans were delinquent, which is down 13 basis points from February and about 90 basis points less than a year earlier. All appears to be good there.
But the other metric CoreLogic tracks closely, the foreclosure rate, has stubbornly stayed around 1.15 percent since last fall. So, mortgage market watchers out there: Is that foreclosure rate our new "natural" number?
More than three homes were flipped each day in 2012 in the Nashville area, according to research firm RealtyTrac. And the results were quite profitable: The average profit on those sales — defined as being consummated within 90 days of the earlier home purchase — topped $38,000, or 35 percent. That puts Middle Tennessee in the top 10 nationally, a couple of spots behind Memphis.
Sales per square foot at the three Middle Tennessee malls owned at least in part by CBL & Associates lagged the company's overall growth in 2012. In its recently filed annual report, Chattanooga-based CBL said the average property in its portfolio saw sales per square foot rise almost 6 percent last year. The CoolSprings Galleria posted growth of 2.2 percent while both RiverGate Mall and Governor's Square in Clarksville saw per-square-foot sales dip after posting strong numbers in 2011. Check out all the stats for the area properties here.
Foreclosure rates in the Nashville area decreased in February compared to February 2012 but ticked up ever so slightly from January, according to recently released data from CoreLogic. The CoreLogic data shows that the local rate of foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 1.15 percent for February, a decrease of 0.55 percentage points compared to February 2012. Foreclosure activity in the area was lower than that of the national foreclosure rate, which was 2.85 percent for February. The rate of seriously delinquent mortgages ticked down more than 10 basis points from January and are now at their lowest level since May of 2009.
After averaging almost 4 percent over the previous three months, year-over-year job growth in the Middle Tennessee area slowed a bit in March to a still-very-respectable 2.8 percent. Three sectors are in the red versus early 2012 — including, somehow, construction — but big sectors such as business services and manufacturing are still going strong.
The annual effective rent growth rate for apartments in Nashville is holding its own while, on a national scale, rates are at the lowest level in the past 31 months.
Axiometrics Inc., a provider of apartment data and research, reported this week that Nashville rents in March are growing at a 4.7 percent, the same rate as in March 2012. Nashville ranked 18th out of 100 metro rental markets in the survey. Nationally, the annual effective rental growth is 3.2 percent compared to 4.1 percent at this point a year ago.
While nationally, the effective rent growth is weaker than it has been in recent months, the occupancy rate continues to strengthen and has reached a national average of 94.4 percent. Thirty-eight of the top 88 metropolitan statistical areas are generating occupancy rates above 95 percent.
Nashville’s current occupancy rate, according to the survey, is 95.4 percent. Revenue growth locally dipped half a percentage point from 5.6 percent last year to 5.1 percent. Nationally, revenue was down a full percentage point, dipping to 3.5 percent from 4.5 percent last year.
By this time next year, when Axiometrics issues the 2014 survey, there will be hundreds of new apartment units online in Middle Tennessee. It remains to be seen how the current apartment boom will impact rental growth and occupancy rates.
The already-struggling shares of Noranda Aluminum Holding were being crushed Monday after a Citi analyst cut his rating and price target on the stock and investors took down most things related to commodities on fears that global growth is again slowing. Citi analyst Brian Yu lowered his opinion of Noranda to 'neutral' from 'buy' and now has a price target of $4.50, down from $7. At about 2:20 p.m., Noranda shares (Ticker: NOR) were off more than 8 percent to about $3.60.
On a related note, Delek US Holdings (Ticker: DK) were down 7 percent as investors also sold off oil refiners, many of which have run up big time so far this year.
Louisiana-Pacific shares also were giving up a significant ground Monday after a National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index showed that home builders' optimism fell this month to its lowest level since October. In addition to complaints about material costs and getting the loans they need to build, builders are now showing some concern about consumer demand, the report said. That stung LP (Ticker: LPX) to the tune of almost 9 percent on volume that will more than triple the stock's daily average.
Even though millions of people have dropped out of the U.S. labor market and the pace of job growth is agonizingly irregular, the U.S. labor market is steadily healing as evidenced by the number of job openings. But Sudeep Reddy at the Journal points out that we have plenty of mending still to do.