Home to a robust blues scene, world-class barbecue and Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, Memphis is a unique American city with a rich history. For decades, however, perceptions of high crime, poverty and ineffective local government have plagued this iconic city. As a result, it has stagnated while its peer city three hours to the east, Nashville, has flourished. While Nashville's metropolitan statistical area (MSA) population nearly doubled between 1990 and 2016, Memphis's MSA population has ticked up slowly. The real estate market, which has recovered from the late-2000s crash and soared to new heights in Nashville, continues to struggle in Memphis.

On the bright side, depressed real estate prices in Memphis mean that, unlike in many cities, middle-class and working-class homebuyers are not priced out of the market. A family making $50,000 per year in Memphis can find quality homes with plenty of square footage and big yards, and can actually afford to buy these homes.

Market Insights

Since 2011, modest price appreciation and significant seasonal fluctuations have characterized the Memphis real estate market. The average sales price for Memphis homes in 2011 stood at $83,000. As of April 2016, the average Memphis home sold for $100,000. Since 2013, however, Memphis sales prices have not trended upward overall. Rather, they have swung wildly, from as high as $130,000 during the summer months to lower than $100,000 during the winter and early spring months. Sales numbers offer the biggest clue as to why these seasonal fluctuations are so severe. Nearly twice as many people purchase homes in Memphis during the summer months compared to the winter months. In August 2015, there were 1,780 homes sold in Memphis. By January 2016, that number had fallen to 1,045. Memphis homebuyers who want the best price should wait for winter before making an offer.

Property and Transfer Taxes

As of 2015, the property tax rate for Shelby County, which encompasses all of Memphis, is $4.37 per $100 of tax-assessed value. In addition to county taxes, homeowners must pay city property taxes. For the city of Memphis, the rate is $1.15 per $100 of tax-assessed value. A home's tax-assessed value equals 25% of its appraised value, or what the market says it is worth. Therefore, a home valued at the city's median of $100,000 has a tax-assessed value of $25,000. The owner of this home is responsible for $1,092 in Shelby County property taxes and $287 in Memphis city property taxes.

Real estate in Tennessee is subject to a transfer tax of 37 cents per $100. This means the transfer tax on a $100,000 home is $370.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods

A smattering of exclusive neighborhoods dots the urban core of Memphis. In addition, several upscale suburbs sit outside the city's boundaries. Belle Meade and Hedgemoor, both situated in East Memphis, feature older construction on large lots with mature trees. Even small ranch homes in these neighborhoods list for over $300,000, more than triple the city's median sales price. Parts of Midtown, such as Central Gardens and Evergreen, are also known for their historic homes and high price tags.

Homebuyers who favor suburban living and have money to spend gravitate toward Germantown and Collierville, both located east of Memphis. The housing stock in Germantown is a little older and offers a broader price range, while Collierville is newer, shinier and more expensive.

Top Real Estate Websites

Memphis home shoppers can find several useful resources online. Spake.com is a local real estate website where buyers can search available properties in the area, and potential sellers can receive estimates on what their home is worth. The site also features a blog that is updated regularly with articles about happenings in the Memphis real estate market.

Additionally, national real estate websites, such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, provide an abundance of information on specific homes for sale as well as broader real estate market trends in the area.

Miami Real Estate Market

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