After a very good beginning to 2019, local real estate activity cooled somewhat in February. For the month ending on Thursday, Feb. 28, there were 807 property transfers in Knox County. That number represented a slight decrease from February 2018, when 831 property sales were recorded. January began this year with 874 transfers.
The aggregate value of property sold also came in just under the January total. During the month of February, around $205 million worth of real estate was sold in the county, compared to almost $220 million in January. In 2018, February produced $243.5 million in land transfers. It is not unusual for markets to experience slower activity in February, as it is the shortest month of the year, falls in the middle of winter, and is further shortened by the Presidents’ Day holiday.
In contrast to the drop in real estate sales, mortgage lending saw a significant surge over January’s activity. Loans against real property during February totaled approximately $322.6 million – an increase of over $50 million from the January total of $270 million. Last February also saw about $270 million in mortgages and refinancing.
The largest transfer of the month involved the sale of the Holiday Inn at the corner of Henley Street and Clinch Avenue adjacent to the World’s Fair Park. The property sold to RB Hotel Knoxville LLC for just under $16 million. A Deed of Trust financing some of that same property was the largest mortgage transaction, coming in at just over $39 million.
So far, the first two months of 2019 have produced about the same level of real estate activity as last year, while mortgage lending appears to be on the increase.
Nick McBride is Knox County Register of Deeds.