There was at least one positive thing that happened to Atlanta’s real estate market in 2012: it saw the end to a 26-year consecutive decline in in home prices, year-over-year, according to a report from CNBC.
Atlanta home prices rose by one-tenth of a percent during the third quarter of 2012, according to Standard & Poor’s / Case Shiller index that measures home prices in the 20 major metro areas across the United States. In another promising sign, CNN Money reports that Atlanta came in ranked 15th out of the worst 20 cities for foreclosures. While this might not sound too great, it’s actually something of an improvement from the situation in May 2012 when one in every 224 homes in the city was being foreclosed on, which meant it had the second highest foreclosure rank in the nation.
Experts says there are two main reasons for Atlanta’s high foreclosure rate – firstly, the fact that well-paying jobs are in scarce supply and have been for several years now. Even worse, many residents looking to move in order to find better paying work can’t afford to do so without damaging their credit and having the possibility of a foreclosure on their record for the better part of the next decade.
Another reason why Atlanta has been slapped with so many foreclosures in recent times is that a vast number of home buyers before the housing crash were younger, first time buyers that took advantage of bank’s loose lending policies to take out mortgages with little to no money down. As home values dropped, these buyers quickly found themselves underwater and struggling to make their repayments.
While foreclosures can be spotted all over the city, the majority of them seem to be centered on North Atlanta, De Kalb county, Marietta, Lawrenceville, Smyrna and Sandy Springs. To the east and south of the city, areas including Hampton, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Jackson and Covington saw far fewer foreclosures and as a result, home prices have remained more steadfast.
With so many families unable to keep up with their mortgage payments, even now many are still choosing to default in order to keep food on the table and pay the never-ending stream of bills that wind up in the mailbox.