MAAR Honors Members for Community Service

Community, Events No Comments »

Last Thursday evening, May 22, approximately 100 MAAR members gathered in the Education Center to celebrate those who have given back to the community.  The Community Service Awards were first established in 2004 to honor members who selflessly devote their time and energy to various non-profits and other organizations in the greater Memphis community.  At this 5th Annual Community Service Award event, nine REALTOR® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATES® and two Affiliate members were honored by their colleagues.  The nominees were as follows:

REALTOR®/REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® Category:

  • Felix Bishop, Crye-Leike
  • Brenda Hampton, Crye-Leike
  • Donald Higgins, Crye-Leike
  • Denise Martin, Prudential Collins-Maury
  • Lynn Pfund, Keller Williams
  • Bertha Pitts, Crye-Leike
  • Jo Shaner, Keller Williams
  • John Thompson, Germantown Properties
  • Carlo van Rantwyk, Crye-Leike

Affiliate Category:

  • Mary Davis, Howard Davis Appraisals
  • Judy Stanley, Crump Mortgage

CSA Nominees

The REALTOR® winner for 2008 is Jo Shaner, who brings excitement and enthusiasm to every volunteer effort she undertakes.  Jo is involved with several organizations, including Youth Villages, the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity and KW Cares. 

Judy Stanley was honored as the Affiliate member winner for 2008.  Judy has been a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve for eight years, and works with the St. Jude Marathon, Grace Place Ministries- Mark Luttrell Federal Prison for Women, the Alzheimer’s Association of Memphis, American Cancer Society and Habitat for Humanity.  She is also active on the boards of the Mid-South Fair, National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, and the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl. 

CSA Recipients

Posted by Katie Shotts at 3:39 pm

What Higher Gas Prices Mean for the Suburbs

Community, Market Statistics/Performance, News, Trends No Comments »

Do higher gas prices have anything to do with a decline in real estate sales prices? According to this report from CEOs for Cities, they do have an impact, especially on homes in outlying suburbs and in metro areas with weak central cities.

In the report, Driven to the Brink: How the Gas Price Spike Popped the Housing Bubble and Devalued the Suburbs, Joseph Cortright lays out how the run up in gas prices in the past few years corresponded with the popping of the housing bubble.

Between 1990 and 2004 the price of gas was essentially unchanged in inflation-adjusted terms, making a longer commute from your new home in the suburbs a non-issue, at least from a financial standpoint. Today’s gas prices averaging more than $3.50 a gallon is pinching all consumers, but likely weighs more heavily on those metropolitan areas and suburbs where people have to drive the farthest.

As such, the report found that while there is overall weakness in housing prices, price declines are generally more severe in cities and neighborhoods that require lengthy commutes and provide few transportation alternatives to driving your own vehicle.

Looking at housing values in five cities in both close-in and distant neighborhoods, the researchers found that in each case, housing prices fared worse in the more distant neighborhood. In Portland, the price of an average house in the 97202 ZIP code (3 miles from the central business district downtown) increased 7.7% from the fourth quarter 2006 to the fourth quarter 2007. During the same period, the average house in suburban Vancouver, Ore. (13.6 miles from the central business district) saw a price decline of 8.4%.

In concluding his report, Cortright offers five policy implications for leaders in all communities:

  • The relative decline in prices in sprawling suburbs is likely to persist because of the continued high price of gas, and governments should plan accordingly.
  • The market for higher density and redevelopment in close-in neighborhoods is likely to grow stronger, and local land use plans should accommodate this shift.
  • Government can help families save money by making it easy and convenient to live in mixed-use, close-in neighborhoods served by transit.
  • Reducing vehicle miles traveled not only saves families money, households that drive less have more to spend on other things, stimulating the local economy. Additionally, reducing oil consumption not only cuts greenhouse gas emissions but lowers the trade deficit.
  • Many distant exurban developments may no longer be economical, and propping up building and homeownership in these areas encourages unsustainable settlement that makes families even more vulnerable to future gas price increases.

Considering that gas prices aren’t likely to fall soon, if ever, this report’s findings have some striking implications, not only for Memphis-area real estate, but the future economic success of our city.

Posted by Scott Sherrin at 1:31 pm

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MAAR Brings Housing Market Concerns to Rep. Blackburn

Community, Governmental Affairs, Market Statistics/Performance 1 Comment »

On April 24th, U.S. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn asked to meet with several members of MAAR to discuss the current housing market in Tennessee and how she could help in Congress.  MAAR President John Snyder, Governmental Affairs Director Aubrie Kobernus, several members of MAAR’s Governmental Affairs committee, and I were able to spend an hour talking frankly with the Congresswoman. We told her what we felt were the most important issues that needed to be addressed to help get our market improving at a faster rate.

We shared with her the importance of pending legislation to allow for lower down payments for FHA loans and risk-based pricing. Another discussion involved the type of information related to real estate markets that’s given to the media out of Washington. The concern we expressed is that they’re using information that basically covers ONLY those markets that are experiencing drastic price reductions. We asked that the representatives of the states that are not seeing the same type of problems be very loud and clear that this information doesn’t cover every market. As we all know quite well, real estate is a local issue that differs no matter where you are.

Other topics of discussion included:

  • Tax credits for the purchase of a home
  • The merits of a government bailout of the lenders that have bought these bad loans
  • Possible legal action against lenders who fraudulently made these loans

It was a great discussion in an hour’s time and we’re hopeful Ms. Blackburn will take some of our ideas back to Washington. We’ll have a chance to reiterate these points in our visits with other Tennessee representatives during the NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings in Washington May 12-17.

What Makes Memphis Unique to You?

Community, News No Comments »

When I first moved to Memphis five years ago I was surprised at the city’s seemingly low self-esteem. While every city has its negatives, I couldn’t understand why so many who lived here were so down about the city considering all that Memphis has to offer: the incredible history, the music, the museums, the great restaurants - all very accessible to anyone who chooses to take advantage of them.

MPACT Memphis is taking on the challenge of reversing the city’s low self-esteem and they want your help in identifying what makes Memphis unqiue to you. The Uniquely Memphis campaign, which is part of the Memphis Fast Forward initiative, seeks to show Memphians “why Memphis is a wonderful place to live, work and play. The campaign goal is to increase the level of civic pride and create a mentality that is positive about the future of the community.”

So what do you like about Memphis? What do you enjoy about our community that you haven’t found anywhere else? When people ask you about Memphis, what’s the one thing you always rave about? Let MPACT know.

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