Home sales, prices up in Memphis area in 2020 despite pandemic


Homes on Mud Island in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Even as the pandemic hit many parts of the economy in 2020, home sales in the Memphis metro area remained strong last year, as sales prices climbed in every local community.

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors released new data this week showing that the average sales price of homes in Memphis and surrounding suburbs in 2020 was $214,516, a 12.3% increase over the year before. The median sales price increased 14.2% to $177,000.

The number of homes sold in 2020 stayed fairly steady at 19,660, a 0.4% increase. Those numbers were even stronger in December, when the number of home sales increased more than 10%, and average price increased by 17.8%.

“To have more total sales in 2020 than the previous year, amid a pandemic, is remarkable,” said 2021 MAAR President Cassandra Bell-Warren in a statement.

Average sales prices increased in every community surveyed by MAAR, from inner-city neighborhoods to outlying counties.

In Frayser, average sales prices jumped 21.8%, to $60,521. South Memphis was up by 16%, to $42,243. Homes in Midtown and East Memphis increased by more than 14% on average, to $188,113 and $236,569 respectively.

In Millington, homes prices increased 13% to $164,709. In Lakeland, the average price for a home increased 10.9% to $365,704. Prices also rose by around 10% in Germantown, Cordova and Collierville.

Judith Johnson with InCity Realty said she thinks that the smaller number of homes available for sale had an impact on prices. Data shows the local inventory of houses for sale dropped from a high of 4,385 in July 2019 to 2,403 in December 2020.

“Any time I think you have a scarce commodity, prices are going to go up,” Johnson said.

While industries like hospitality and restaurants are hurting because of COVID-19, Johnson said, other sectors of the economy and the stock market are doing well. She’s noticed buyers upsizing to get a house with a home office during the pandemic.

Additionally, she said, out-of-town investors moving into the market may be willing to pay higher prices.

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