Tuesday, July 2, 2013 / by Ira Miskin
As I am writing this there are 5579 Buyers in our data base who have contacted us over the past 12 months – each who are interested in purchasing a home sometime within the next one to twelve months. According to the latest statistics for the average value of home prices in Metro Atlanta, all home sale prices for single family homes area-wide have increased by 27%. But the number of single family homes for sale city-wide has declined 30.4% from 23,000 to 16,000.
How this trend impacts local communities is instructive. Let’s drill down a bit and see how these changes in the home-selling marketplace have affected Buyers and Sellers in Cobb County as an example. Here are five well regarded communities that show of how many Cobb County neighborhoods are affected by the market’s recovery.
# Homes Sold in Past 12 Months
Avg. Sale Price 2012
Avg. Sale Price 2013
Both Legacy Park and Brookstone are large and diverse communities. In Legacy Park diversity in both size and style make the community a strong magnet for buyers as different as first time home buyers and downsizers seeking homes that are comfortable yet manageable in under $200,000 pricing in communities like Lullwater or Annadale vs. move-up buyers seeking more space for growing families and executive style homes with pricing that can exceed $400,000 in Winterhur or Palisades.
Brookstone offers as wide a selection of homes, sizes and styles as Legacy Park. There are homes on the golf course with prices exceeding $500,000 and over 5,000 square feet of living space in Brookstone Country Club; there are pleasing and comfortable first-time-buyer homes in the 2,000 square foot size for under $175,000, with many styles and sizes and prices in between.
A mid-sized community like Heritage Club – a swim-tennis community – offers a variety of sizes and styles in a well-cared-for setting with pleasing architectural designs. Cobblestone Ridge, primarily offering new home construction in single story cottage style – craftsman style homes is a very different type of community and home design, yet sees a significant amount of home-buying traffic. And pleasing and established communities like Echo Mill provide homes in 4 to 6 bedroom sizes with a variety of Cobb-County Traditional façades and styles that are both attractive and timeless.
It is in these settings that buyers seek homes – “great deals” in a shrinking housing market where interest rates are beginning their slow but inevitable upward creep. For the last several years, as equity was forced out of homes in most Cobb County communities, homeowners who didn’t need to sell have held onto their homes, waiting for the residential home market to rebound – and rightly so. However, there were some who used leverage to shelter their lost equity on the sell side by making smart purchases at the market’s bottom, knowing eventually, their way under-market purchase would surpass any equity loss they suffered in the sale of their home. Those that were less brave hung on and are being rewarded by their patience too.
But there is a cloud on the horizon and that cloud is rising interest rates, which will make it tougher for many buyers to qualify for loans on homes they could have purchased when home loan interest rates languished below – and at times well below 4% annually for 30-year fixed-rate home mortgages. Still, though prices are rising, many buyers are in the hunt for non-distress sale homes in good repair in highly regarded Cobb County communities before prices and interest rates box them out of the market. Underwriting criteria for Buyers will not soften as the pricing of homes rises and along with it interest rates. And the number of Buyers – we get over 600 new buyers inquiring about homes for sale every month – will begin to diminish.
So what should home-owners in Cobb County be thinking about now? If you were hesitant about selling because of values languishing at the bottom, that time seems to be past. If you are considering making a move now because you want to use the sell-buy leverage still available to get that bigger home at smaller home pricing, that time is now and in the near future – but won’t be there perhaps even a year from now.
In a recent article published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it stated that although “job growth in Metro Atlanta may not be going gangbusters,” it is “still outdoing national job growth.” As evidence, this month alone agents on our Team are working with more relocating out-of town buyers than they have in recent years. These are job relocating Buyers from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington State, and California to name a few. For those who have been sitting out the market downturn but feel the time is now right to make a move, getting a private consultation with both a market analysis of your home and a market analysis of homes you would buy if you sold your home, could get you set on the right path for using leverage to both sell and buy before we return to “normal supply and demand levels” with “normal interest rates.”
For the readers of this blog you can call me direct at 770-672-7832 and ask for a free and confidential market analysis and in-home evaluation to help you understand more fully what your home is worth and how you may be able to get top dollar in today’s market to leverage your purchase of a new home while prices still hover at well below the market highs. And also ask about how to determine the best strategy for finding the still available “great deals” that may be hidden from the average home shopper. To prepare for your in-home evaluation you should also ask for a Special Report titled: 27 Valuable Tips You Should Know To Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar.
About the author: Ira Miskin is Market Area President for Optimus Real Estate Brokers. Ira is available for private consultation by appointment by calling 770-672-7832.