Cherokee County, Georgia Housing Market Review

The most common questions I am asked are: Is the market getting any better and is activity picking up?  The problem in providing an answer is that is really depends on the day you ask.  Over the last 6 – 9 months, there really has been any consistent trend in the market.  Some weeks see lots of activity and interest while others have no activity.  It has been this lack of consistency that has made this such a difficult market.

On the positive side, we have low interest rates, an $8000 federal tax credit for first time buyers, an $1800 Georgia state tax credit for all buyers and a buyer’s market.  On the negative side, high unemployment, low consumer confidence and a credit crunch have kept buyers from jumping back into the market.

To get a clear picture of the Cherokee market, I have broken down the sales trends for 2006 through April 2009.  The chart below for Cherokee County includes the cities of Woodstock,  Canton, Ball Ground, Holly Springs and Waleska.

EXPLANATION OF CHART

This chart shows the number of homes sold in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 (thru April).  2007 and 2008 are also broken down into Jan-July an Aug-Dec time frames.  The last column represent the the number of currently active listings and their average asking price.  The actual data for each bar and line is shown at the bottom of the chart.

Cherokee County Housing Market Review

ANALYSIS

Units Sold

2006 saw 2967 homes sold with that number increasing to 3550 in 2007.  We know that that market slowdown began in summer of 2007.  This is clear by looking at the breakdown of 2007 sales: 2312 units from Jan-July and 1238 units from Aug-Dec.  Total units sold in 2008 declined to 2389 with the second half of the year seeing only 869 homes sold.  Thru April 30, 2009, only 595 homes have sold so far.  If we extrapolate this for the entire year, 2009 will see approximately 1800 homes sold.  This is 25% less homes sold than 2008 and about 50% less than the peak homes sold in 2007.

There are currently 2726 homes on the market.  Using a total absorption of 1800 homes for the year translates into Cherokee County having 18.3 months of inventory.  A balanced market is typically in the 7-9 month range of inventory.

Average Sales Price and Average List Price

In 2006, the average sold price was $250,000.  This increased slightly to $253,000 in 2007, an increase of just  1.2%.  The average sold price peaked in the first half of 2007 at $256,000. By 2008, the average sold price was down to $232,000.  For the first four months of 2009, the average sold price has fallen to $219,000.

The average list price in 2006 was $255,000.  The difference between the average list and average sold in 2006 was 2.0%.  By 2007, the gap between list and sold price increased to 3.2%.  In 2008, the gap had further increased to 5.2%.  For the first four months of 2009, the gap reached 6.8%.

The continued growth in the gap between list and sold prices clearly shows that while the number of homes sold has slowed dramatically, the pressure on price has increased.  Even though the average list price is down considerably from the high points in the market, sellers are going to have to price their homes attractively in order to capture the lower number of buyers.

Average Days on Market

This data is not shown on the chart but in the table below:

2006: 77

Jan – Jul 2007: 83
Aug-Dec 2007: 88
2007: 85

Jan-Jul 2008: 102
Aug-Dec 2008: 92
2008: 98

2009: 84

As we can see, the average days on market has increased from to 77 to a current 84 days which is less than 2008’s average of 98 days.

Please feel free to contact me with questions about your specific market or community.  You can request a FREE home market analysis here.