Cobb County, GA – 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 12 months, there really hasn’t 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.  However, things are starting to change and a trend is starting to develop.

Positive News

Interest rates continue to be low (in the high 4%/low 5% range) and the $8000 federal tax credit for first time buyers and $1800 Georgia state tax credit for all buyers are good until the end of November.  In fact, houses are probably the most affordable they’ve ever been.  And, if you’re a home buyer, it’s still a buyer’s market.

On The Other Hand

National unemployment in about 10% and Georgia’s is slightly over 10%.  Job losses and uncertainty have undermined the confidence of home buyers.  In addition, while money is cheap, it is also still difficult to get a mortgage if your credit is not very good.

Market Analysis

To get a clear picture of the Cobb market, I have broken down the sales trends for 2006 through 2008.  For 2009, I kept my original analysis period of January thru April  and have added May thru September.  This way you can see how the year is trending.

The charts below show the data for East and West Cobb separately.  East Cobb consists of mostly unincorporated Marietta and parts of the city of Marietta.  West Cobb consists of the other half of the city of Marietta plus the cities of Kennesaw, Acworth, Powder Springs, Mableton, Austell, Smyrna and Vinings.

EXPLANATION OF CHARTS

This chart shows the number of homes sold in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 (thru September).  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.

Cobb County Housing Market Analysis

ANALYSIS

Units Sold – 2006-2008

2006 saw 2177 homes sold with that number increasing to 2545 in 2007.  We know that that market slowdown began in summer of 2007.  This is clear by looking at the breakdown of 2007 sales: 1703 units from Jan-July and 842 units from Aug-Dec.  Total units sold in 2008 declined to 1807 with the second half of the year seeing only 644 homes sold.

Units Sold – 2009

Thru April 30, 2009, 382 homes sold with an average sales price $303,000.  If we extrapolate this for the entire year, 2009 would see approximately 1200 homes sold.  From May thru September, 855 homes sold with an average sales price of $337,000.  While this period includes one more month than January thru April, the number of homes sold increased by almost 125%. In addition, the average sales price increased by 4.3%.

There are currently 1416 homes on the market with an average list price of $442,000.  Current inventory now stands at 10.3 months versus 17 months in May.  Clearly we are seeing a positive trend in sales and prices.  However, inventory is still above the 7-9 months which would represent a balanced market.  In addition, the current average list price of $442,00 is way too high and still shows that sellers are not dealing with the realities of the market.

Average Sales Price

In 2006, the average sold price was $326,000.  This jumped to $351,000 in 2007, an increase of 7.6%.  The average sold price peaked in the second half of 2007 at $357,000. By 2008, the average sold price was back down to $334,000.  For the first four months of 2009, the average sold price fell to $303,000. From May thru September, the average sales price increased to $318,000 which is still below 2008’s average but a positive trend.

Average List Price

The average list price in 2006 was $334,000.  The difference between the average list and average sold in 2006 was 2.5%.  By 2007, the gap between list and sold price increased to 4.3%.  In 2008, the gap had further increased to 5%.  For the first four months of 2009, the gap reached 6.2%.  From May to September, the gap dropped slightly to just below 6%.

Average Days on Market

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

2006: 57

Jan – Jul 2007: 62
Aug-Dec 2007: 68
2007: 64

Jan-Jul 2008: 77
Aug-Dec 2008: 82
2008: 79

Jan – April 2009: 93
May – Sept 2009: 85

As we can see, the average days on market has dropped from to 93 to 85 but still well above 2008’s 79.

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Cobb County Housing Market Analysis

ANALYSIS

Units Sold – 2006 – 2008

2006 saw 5091 homes sold with that number increasing to 5890 in 2007.  We know that that market slowdown began in summer of 2007.  This is clear by looking at the breakdown of 2007 sales: 3816 units from Jan-July and 2074 units from Aug-Dec.  Total units sold in 2008 declined to 4401 with the second half of the year seeing only 1702 homes sold.

Units Sold – 2009

Thru April 30, 2009, 1092 homes sold with an average sales price of $185,000.  If we extrapolate this for the entire year, 2009 would see approximately 3300 homes sold. From May thru September, 2235 homes sold with an average sales price of $209,000. While this period includes one more month than January thru April, the number of homes sold increased by almost 105%. In addition, the average sales price increased by almost 13%.

There are currently 3525 homes on the market with an average list price of $300,000.  Current inventory now stands at 9.5 months versus 15.3 months in May.  Clearly we are seeing a positive trend in sales and prices.  However, while inventory is approaching the range for a balanced market, the current average sales price is way too high (almost $100,000 more than the average sales price) and still shows that sellers are not dealing with the realities of the market.

Average Sales Price

In 2006, the average sold price was $250,000.  This actually decreased slightly to $249,000 in 2007.  The average sold price stayed at $250,000 thru the first half of 2007.  By 2008, the average sold price was down to $223,000, a drop of almost 11%.  For the first four months of 2009, the average sold price was $185,000 representing a decline of 21% from the same period in 2008 and a 26% drop from the peak price in 2006 and early 2007. From May thru September, the average sales price increased to $209,000, representing a 13% increase but still below 2008’s average of $223,000.

Average List Price

The average list price in 2006 was $255,000.  The difference between the average list and average sold in 2006 was 2%.  By 2007, the gap between list and sold price increased to 2.7%.  In 2008, the gap had further increased to 4.8%.  For the first four months of 2009, the gap reached 6%. From May thru September, the gap was slightly less at 5.5%.

Average Days on Market

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

2006: 73

Jan – Jul 2007: 80
Aug-Dec 2007: 82
2007: 81

Jan-Jul 2008: 89
Aug-Dec 2008: 89
2008: 89

Jan – April 2009: 98
May – Sept 2009: 97

As we can see, the average days on market has only decreased by one day and is still higher than 2008’s average.

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

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Cobb County, Georgia Housing Market Review