Prudential Real Estate reports the Metro Atlanta real estate market is showing signs of improvement for sellers. In 2011, we reported that over 60% of sold transactions were short sales and foreclosures. And approximately 50% of closed sales were under $100,000 which would normally have been 10-15% of the market. But we have now seen a prolonged period of low “for sale” inventory. At the same time, the pace of pre-foreclosures (notices of default) and foreclosures has slowed. Here are some specific numbers from our sources:
- Listed inventory is down 35% from April of 2011.
- Properties sold under $100,000 now represent 22% of the market versus almost 50% in 2011. We are moving back toward a normal price distribution where 10-15% of sales would be under $100,000.
- Pre-foreclosures and Foreclosures are down almost 50% from 2011 levels.
- Normal market sales (resales, new homes) are now outpacing bank-owned sales.
- Desirable properties with market pricing are getting multiple offers and selling quickly.
So what is causing these positive trends and how long will these conditions last? The combination of low inventory, strong demand and the slowdown in short sales & foreclosures is driving these latest market conditions. But real estate is local and our markets can be very different. Some areas will continue to see low inventory and values are expected to start rising. Other areas have looming “shadow inventory” and we will see more short sales & foreclosures coming late this year and into next year. We have the facts to help guide you if you want to know more about your area.
If you know someone who is interested in buying, there are beautiful homes available at affordable prices and mortgage rates remain at historic lows. But this window of opportunity will not last as we are seeing prices stabilize and the “for sale inventory” getting very low in many of our local markets. And mortgage rates are expected to rise over time. Even though the Fed has stated that interest rates will stay low through the end of 2014, that does not mean that mortgage rates will stay the same.
Mortgage rates are impacted by other factors. Both the Freddie Mac and Mortgage Bankers Association forecast mortgage rates to be 4.5% by the end of 2012 and 5% by the end of 2013. Most analysts expect us to return to the 6-8% range in the next 3-5 years. The average mortgage rate for the past 50 years has been 8%. There will be plenty of people still buying homes just like they did in past years. But the affordability of the homes they purchase will be very different. Home affordability is the mix of purchase price and the mortgage rate. If rates go up from 4% to 5%, that is a 25% drop in affordability or purchasing power. This is why wealthy individuals are coming to Metro Atlanta to buy investment properties right now!