Category Archives: State of the Real Estate Market

Buckhead Inventory of Homes for Sale has dropped 31%

In our sales meeting this week, the main topic of discussion was regarding multiple offers on homes. The attorneys at Campbell and Brannon pointed out challenges and potential pitfalls to avoid when faced with this situation.  I don’t think anyone in the real estate industry is ready to say happy days are here again, but the decrease in inventory is certainly causing more buyers to have a sense of urgency that they weren’t feeling over the last couple of years which is resulting in multiple offer scenarios for homes that are well priced and in good condition.

The chart below from Trendgraphix illustrates the decreased number of homes for sale in the Buckhead area in the $500,000 to $1,000,000 price range.

Top East Cobb School Districts Show Stronger Home Sales and Fewer Homes For Sale

The news involving the real estate market often seems confusing and conflicting from day to day.  We’ve been hearing alot about strong sales and declining inventory of available homes which would lead you to believe the market is recovering, but after the past few years anyone in the real estate field is cautiously optimistic but hopeful that this breeze of activity may soon turn into a gust.  I recently researched the East Cobb area that is so popular for the excellent schools to see how the market is doing with some sound statistics, not just speculation.  This graph below is from Trendgaphix and shows the sales activity for the past year from May 2011 through May 2012 for the zip codes of 30062,30067, and 30068 for the price range from $300,000 and up.  You’ll see the number of available homes in May 2011 was 450 compared to May 2012 of 307, a 31.8% decline.  The number of homes that went under contract rose slightly, but the sales rose 16.4%.  With the decreased inventory and increased sales, the months of inventory based on closed sales is much more favorable at 4.8 months compared to a high of 13.9 months in January of 2012 and 8.2 months in May of 2011.

This is great news for sellers that have really been beat up over the past 5 years by this buyer’s market.

In 2012, I’m Getting My Hopes Up

I like the way he’s thinking!

Joe Queenan, in his Moving Targets column, looks at the “glass-half-empty”  habit of experts.

2011 was the year that Americans were constantly told to avoid getting their hopes up. Case in point: When the U.S. unemployment rate surprisingly dropped to 8.6% a few weeks ago, the experts said: “Don’t get your hopes up. The only reason it dropped is because so many people left the work force.”

Then, when the Dow Industrials soared after the euro crisis seemed to abate a bit, the experts cautioned: “Great, but don’t get your hopes up. Greece could go under. Spain and Italy, too. And then all of Europe could implode.”

Similarly, when word got out that the U.S. economy had grown at a much faster rate than economists had predicted, the experts sniffed: “Big whoop. If Europe goes into a recession, all bets are off.” Sure enough, when the trade deficit substantially narrowed, the experts carped: “Great. But if the euro collapses, the trade deficit will go right through the roof.”

I for one am tired of being told not to get my hopes up every time it looks like there is something to get my hopes up about. I am tired of being told to take things with a grain of salt, to hold my horses, not to get ahead of myself. Just once I would like to see a report reading: “Housing starts grew at their fastest pace in five years. That’s it. No caveats. No statistical anomalies. Nope. Happy days are here again. Everybody, grab a Champagne glass.”

I am no Pollyanna; I realize that tough times may still lie ahead. But what’s the point of spending all our time waiting for the other shoe to drop?

For starters, hedging bets is not the American way. Just ask Patton. Or Sherman. Or Custer (maybe that’s not a good example). Still, imagine what would have happened if previous generations of Americans spent all their time worrying about those gathering storm clouds instead of keeping their eyes peeled for the silver lining?

“George Washington and the boys pounced on the British garrison at Trenton and put those despicable Hessians to flight. That’s nice, as far as it goes. But it doesn’t make up for our crushing defeats at Brooklyn, Fort Washington and White Plains. And it doesn’t change the fact that the British are better trained, better supplied, and can actually field a working navy. And, oh yeah, their troops actually have shoes. So don’t get your hopes up.”

But Americans did get their hopes up. Just as they got their hopes up in the summer of ’42 with word that the U.S. Navy had defeated the Japanese fleet at Midway.

Today, news like that would come festooned with qualifications: “Close, but no cigar. The Japanese are still dug in on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, not to mention Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines and China. And, oh yeah, Guam. So don’t get your hopes up.”

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the experts were there to tell us that it wasn’t such a big deal: “It’s nice that the Berlin Wall came down, but we’re not out of the woods yet. The Soviet Union, with its massive army and vast nuclear arsenal, still dominates Czechoslovakia and Romania, not to mention Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine. The collapse of the Wall is a cute, heartwarming story. But don’t get your hopes up.”

Well, we did get our hopes up. And look what happened. Maybe that’s what we should be doing today.

I’m not denying that we may still face some rough sledding. I’m not oblivious to the potential for a second economic downturn if things go south in Europe. I just don’t see why we have to think about the potential bad news immediately after we get the good news.

Why can’t we have 24 hours to enjoy the declining unemployment rate, the faster housing starts, the soaring stock market, the burgeoning GDP? Why can’t we have a few hours’ breather from the doom and gloom? There will be time enough for gloom and doom later. There always is.

That’s why the very next time I read some good news—any good news—I’m casting my fate to the wind, putting the cart before the horse, and counting my chickens before they’ve hatched.

 

Atlanta Ranks 7th of Top 10 Markets For Real Estate Bargains

Trulia identified 10 U.S. cities that are home to the biggest price reductions on non-foreclosure homes in 2011 listed on Trulia.  Atlanta ranks 7th.  Whether you’re in the market for your dream home or ready to invest in real estate, Atlanta is the place.

See full article and list of cities

 

More Negative Real Estate News for Atlanta?

Since the housing crisis began, it seems we have been on a constant roller coaster of changing news reports about homes sales and home prices rising and falling. One report has Atlanta faring better than other major cities while another report has Atlanta being hit the worst.  While they all point out true and relative information, real estate is still all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.  While every area and price range has been affected throughout Atlanta, the sales and prices in areas with the best school districts have remained stronger than others. When making a decision about buying or selling a home, it’s important to analyze the data for the specific area of interest.  Unfortunately we’re seeing buyers that listen only to the overall negative news hoping for a great deal and sellers that listen only to the overall positive news that don’t want their home sale to be affected by the market.  I have seen positive aspects of this market for buyers and sellers, but the best way to achieve your goal is to open- mindedly review the data in each area and make an informed decision.

See the latest infomation reported in the Case-Shiller index

Best Time to Buy a House may be Now

Atlanta Business Chronicle recently published the article below on the state of the Atlanta real estate market provided by David Boehmig, the President and Founder of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty.

Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty President David Boehmig   David Boehmig
Home sales, along with job growth and improving consumer confidence, are three of the most important keys in our economy’s ability to show a steady, sustained recovery. This past week, it was reported that the Atlanta residential housing market was dealt another blow and that home values continue to plummet. In terms of average sales price at the lower price point of the housing market, this is true. However, there are plenty of nuggets of encouraging news that don’t seem to be making it to the light of day. In reality, I believe we are forming the foundation of a steady period of recovery that we may look back on and realize was the bottom of the Atlanta housing market.

Here are some facts: Across all price points in the six-county metropolitan area (defined as Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cherokee and Forsyth counties) through the first 10 months of this year, as compared to the first 10 months of 2010, the inventory of available homes (single-family residences and condominiums) for sale in the city’s largest MLS, First MLS, is down by 23.7 percent. Falling inventory is one of the components that make up a value environment of increasing prices as less housing inventory on the market means there is more competition for homes. Over the past year, the number of months of inventory of available homes for sale, determined by the number of homes that sell during the period, has dropped from an 11- to 12-month supply, to seven or eight months. In other words, based on the current level of sales activity, it would take seven to eight months to absorb all of the homes currently on the market. As the month’s supply of homes on the market approaches six months, we will then begin to shift from the buyer’s market that we are currently in to more of a balanced market between buyers and sellers. Another component indicative of recovery is the number of homes being sold. So far this year, over 4,400 more homes have sold and closed than in the same period last year. If these trends continue, basic economics teaches that the laws of supply and demand will kick in, and prices will begin to rise.

What is more interesting, however, is what is happening in our market below the surface of these “overall” statistics. When I drill down and examine the market by price ranges, a pattern begins to emerge. The pattern is that, in general, across the metro Atlanta area, the higher the price range of house, the stronger the signal of recovery emerges. For example, as compared to the recent overall value reports, when you look at only those homes priced over $250,000, instead of values dropping by the overall 9 percent, the average prices actually rose over the last 10 months by 2.5 percent. That’s quite a swing. In reality, for many homes in our market area, the average sales prices are steadily increasing. Just as it is difficult to base local housing values on national statistics, it is not accurate to use overall market statistics for Atlanta to determine what is happening with values in a particular community.

So, what does all this mean? One, if you cull out the lower-priced houses in our Atlanta housing market, you come up with not only lower inventory levels and higher numbers of homes sold, but also modest increases in average sales prices. Secondly, and most importantly, a few months from now when buyers feel that sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach and look in the rearview mirror, they just might realize they missed one of the best opportunities to buy residential real estate they may ever have.

Click here to see the article from the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Walton High School District has a Rise in Pre-foreclosures in November

A valuable tool I like that combines real estate information from FMLS, tax records,and public records into a combined format is RealValuator. It’s a great place to be able to analyze sales and trends in different areas without having to go to several different sources. They recently analyzed the Walton High School District and noted a significant rise in pre-foreclosures in November over other months in 2011.

As reported by RealValuator:

This week’s RV InSite focusses on the Walton High School district with a price range between $50,000 and $2,500,000.The first trend to notice is the increase in Pre-Foreclosure notices from September 2011 (791 notices) to November 2011 (1285 notices). While September and October notices are below the monthly average, November is the highest total over the last twelve full months. The good news is that while the Pre-Foreclosure notice number is rising, the amount of homes foreclosing is decreasing over that same time frame. Though a factor to this could be the banks putting holds on Foreclosures till the new year, much like they did last year. The second trend to notice is Foreclosure Grand Total (2,838) compared to Bank Owned Sales Grand Total (2,625). In this area, Foreclosures are happening at a faster rate than the REO Sales. This is a case
where the troubled assets are coming in faster than they are going out. In other words, it is difficult for the Walton High School district to recover from the distressed market when more distressed assets are added than they are getting rid of.’View Full MarketStat Report
http://realvaluator.com/s/EFahI think it’s important to note that the price range of these pre-foreclosures is in the lower price point for the Walton High School District.  Walton remains one of the most highly sought after school districts around Atlanta and there have been 421 sales reported by FMLS since the beginning of 2011 with 93 of those sales over $500,000. For a complete list of current foreclosures in the Walton School District, contact me at 404-626-1874 or dede@atlantafinehomes.com
Number of Events

Ten Reasons to Buy a House in Atlanta Now

Buy a house nowThis list was put together by our trusted mortgage partners with SunTrust Mortgage, Lynda McNeeley and Stuart Saunders.

TEN REASONS TO BUY A HOUSE IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA RIGHT NOW!

1. The lowest rates in history!

2. Buying power with low rates means more house for your money. 

3. Sellers are listening to realtors for the 1st time in years and pricing accordingly. Again, more house for the money! 

4. Foreclosures and short sales are tapering off, which might make prices rise because sellers no longer have to compete with this product! 

5. Prices historically increase in a spring market. We have not seen that in the past 3 years but this year is different. The number of sales has increased almost 50% in Atlanta in our market place. I believe that we will see an increase in prices this spring if rates stay low and supply continues to diminish. 

6. The supply of houses has decreased (# of sales) and the number of buyers has increased (low interest rates). For the 1st time in 3 years, supply and demand is going our way. Another reason to expect prices to increase in the spring of 2012! 

7. Sellers do not want to have their houses on the market during the holidays which is another reason for shrinking supply. The serious seller will keep marketing until the house sells. Motivated to sell???? I think so! 

8. Sellers want to sell by the end of this year and are more motivated to accept an offer. Waiting costs money in carrying costs and unexpected market conditions. It makes sense that a seller will accept an offer rather than to hang on for 6 more months to see what happens! 

9. The money supply is good and lenders are lending as much as they can to as many people as they can. 

10. If your buyer has a house to sell, then buying now at a low price and selling in the spring, hopefully in a better market, can put money in the pocket and makes perfect sense. This makes this time of year exceptionally right for the selling and buying client!

Now add to that that our appraisals now indicate that our market is STABLE instead of declining and there is a 3-6 month supply of houses and no longer an OVERSUPPLY.  This is a huge indicator that our market is turning!!

If you’re ready to start looking for your new home, contact Dede at dede@atlantafinehomes.com or 404-626-1874

 

 

Mortgage Refinancing Good News for Homeowners

With so many homeowners owing more on their home than its actual value, many programs have been developed to offer help.  It seems that it has been an almost daily news story for so long, I think many of us have become skeptical or even numb to another offer for help. You hear of owners that throw in the towel and send the keys back to the bank,  while others apply for assistance only to find out they don’t meet the requirements.  A new program is now in effect that has received positive press from two well respected and trusted advisors on Real Estate, Clark Howard and John Adams. One of the highlights I took away from the program was that the property does not need to appraise out. With the decreased values and tightened appraisal guidelines, getting a home to appraise for the loan amount has been a major hurdle over the last few years.

More information on this program from Clark Howard

and reported by John Adams

Help for Refinancing

 

 

 

For more information on Atlanta short sales or foreclosures contact me at dede@atlantafinehomes.com or 404-626-1874.