The housing market in the Atlanta area this past May has over 5,500 properties that are in default, auction, bank owned status, or some state of foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac, Inc., a California-based online data tracking service. The number of homes for sale on RealtyTrac is 4,181, with foreclosures increasing 2 percent in May over last month’s figures. The numbers indicate, however, a steep decline from the same time last year, of 53 percent versus May 2012.
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Distressed properties were 55 percent under the price of non-distressed homes. The median price for distressed, or foreclosed, properties is $79,000. However, according to the Atlanta Board of Realtors, regular home sales show a 40 percent increase in price, to $200,000, year over year in May 2013. ABR also released data showing that single family homes sales ticked down to 1.8 percent sales year over year in May, with closings up over 15 percent in April 2013.
ABR President Nancy See, in a prepared statement indicated, “Prices and sales increased month over month, continuing a positive trend. We feel that the year over year drop in sales is a reflection of the ongoing shortage in inventory which is also helping to push prices upward.” She also indicated that buyers who are sitting on the fence may now just be waiting for the best possible price when they enter the market.
Foreclosure filings have been on the decline, but Atlanta has one foreclosure in every 620 homes. This number dropped to 1 in 500 in February 2013 but has ticked back upwards with each month. The percentage of vacant homes stands at 19.4 percent in Atlanta.
Trulia indicates sales prices have appreciated over 25 percent in Atlanta over the past five years. And Zillow has indicated that Atlanta homes are also up in value nearly 5 percent in May alone.
The national housing market continues to benefit from the uptick in the market. Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries said, “Inventory constraints are beginning to ease in many areas as more listings and new home come on line, which will ultimately help end this period of rapid annual home value appreciation above 5 percent.” Humphries also indicated that as interest rates increase, home purchases will become more expensive to finance, and the housing recovery will continue while home appreciation will slow down. He also warns that home buyers seeking short term gains might miss the mark if they assume the (5 percent) gains will continue.
Other buyers are a lot more confident in Atlanta’s housing growth potential. Seeking renters for their single family homes puts American Homes 4 Rent in a different category than a typical owner-occupant. According to the Atlanta’s Business Chronicle, this company is busily buying up many single-family homes to make them ready for an influx of renters. American Homes 4 Rent has invested over $2 billion snapping up over 16,000 properties in 21 states since starting in 2011. With almost 1,100 single family properties in Atlanta alone, it solidifies its stance that the rental market is going to be leading the way to the housing recovery.
As is the case with any metro market area, considering a city as one entity provides little useable information. Atlanta is far too large to be considered as one market. The micro markets up the 400 corridor, those in highly desirable school districts and those areas with demonstrated stability are strong. The "boom time" areas, especially outside the perimeter in the south, west and east remain awash in REO inventory.
It would be much more accurate to define which areas an article considers, simply saying "Atlanta" is misleading at best. This isn't a zinger at the author as this is the case with all national media and data collection services - Case-Schiller being a prime example.