Atlanta, 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 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.

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.

To get a clear picture of the overall Atlanta 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 chart below shows the trends for all of the Atlanta using the FMLS data for single family homes.

EXPLANATION OF CHART

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.

Metro Atlanta Housing Market Analysis

ANALYSIS

Units Sold – 2006 – 2008

2006 saw 46,437  homes sold with that number increasing to 58,115 in 2007.  We know that that market slowdown began in summer of 2007.  This is clear by looking at the breakdown of 2007 sales: 37,497 units from Jan-July and 20,618 units from Aug-Dec.  Total units sold in 2008 declined to 46,677 with the second half of the year seeing only 18,178 homes sold.

Units Sold – 2009

Thru April 30, 2009, 11,631 homes sold.  If we extrapolate this for the entire year, 2009 would see approximately 35,000 homes sold.  From May thru Sepetmber, 21,317 homes sold with an average sales price of $207,000.  This represents an 83% increase in home sales AND a 12.5% increase on average sales price.

There are currently 37,674 homes on the market which is approximately 15% less homes than at the end of April. This also represents 10.3 months of inventory at the current absorption rate. Clearly we are seeing a positive trend in sales. However, inventory is still above the 7-9 months which would represent a balanced market.  In addition, the current average list price of $361,000 for active listings is way too high and will need to come down in order to sustain this sales trend.

Average Sales Price

In 2006, the average sold price was $264,000.  This increased slightly to $265,000 in 2007.  The average sold price peaked in the first half of 2007 at $269,000. By 2008, the average sold price was down to $229,000.  For the first four months of 2009, the average sold price was $184,000. From May thru September, the average sales price increased by $23,000, approximately 12.5%, to $207,000.

Average List Price

The average list price in 2006 was $271,000.  The difference between the average list and average sold in 2006 was 2.7%.  By 2007, the gap between list and sold price increased to 3.4%.  In 2008, the gap had further increased to 6.1%.  For the first four months of 2009, the gap reached an amazing 20.0%. From May thru Deptember, the gap between asking and sold prices had narrowed to 9.1%.

Average Days on Market

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

2006: 76

Jan – Jul 2007: 84
Aug-Dec 2007: 91
2007: 87

Jan-Jul 2008: 95
Aug-Dec 2008: 91
2008: 94

Jan – Apr 2009: 98
May – Sept 2009: 93

As we can see, the average days on market has decreased slightly increased from to 98 to a current 93 days.

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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Atlanta, Georgia Housing Market Review