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Good News For You and Your Cobb County Home
22 Apr 2013 · by Virtual Results PubSub
Inventory may be down, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to buy your home. If you have been seeking to purchase a home, in Cobb County, and have been disheartened by the lack of available properties, cheer up, more inventory may be on the way!
According to recent statistics released by Realtor.com, March 2013 saw a 2.36 percent increase in homes being listed for sale nationwide when compared to February 2013, bringing more options back into the housing market and giving you, as a home buyer more chances to find your home. For the Greater Atlanta area, the number of homes being listed for sale has increased by 8.6 percent, since February 2013, as shown here.
And although prices may be slightly higher (the Atlanta average reported by Realtor.com shows a 3.59% increase in the last month), interest rates are still low, with the 30 year fixed averaging 3.43 % with .8 points on April 11th.
Cobb County home sellers can be excited, too, knowing that their property is likely to be showcased during this time when inventory, though moving, is still low. Less home listings also make for quicker sales with eager buyers, and a key number, days on the market, has been reduced because of the above factors, as well. According to Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move, Inc, “The newest data shows that the outlook is optimistic for the overall real estate recovery.”
Depending on where you live, the overall housing market may be experiencing dramatic change, as well. Take a look at the most recent market reports listed on my website or call me to find out what our local housing market is doing. You’re likely to find that now is the perfect time for you to buy or sell your home!
This year I was especially excited to see the 2012 Atlanta Housing Market Report because, for the first time since 2008, the housing market has seen improvement. And, what’s even better, is that industry experts are predicting that the housing market will continue to improve in 2013.
5 Key Indicators that the Atlanta Housing Market is Improving
More homes are selling
Higher sales-to-list price ratios
Fewer listings are failing to sell
It is taking fewer days to go under contract
Much lower supply of available homes
In this blog, I would like to delve a little deeper into the state of the Atlanta housing market and share with you what you can expect in 2013. If you would like to get more information please feel free to call me at 678-631-1812 or send me an email at Connie@LivingInCobb.com.
Increase in Number of Homes Sold
Atlanta saw a 10.6% increase in the total number of homes sold. I believe the increase can be attributed to (a) improved consumer confidence in the economy, (b) buyers are less fearful of equity depreciation after their purchase, (c) record low interest rates (3.5% or less for conventional, 30 year fixed mortgages), and (d) buyers took advantage of the great deals available in the housing market.
In addition, there was an increase in the number of higher priced homes sold. We have seen an increase in sales of all homes priced above $500,000 for the first time in years.
There are Fewer Distressed Sales
At the start of 2012, over half of all homes sold were either a foreclosure or a short sale. As the year progressed, this number dropped to 39% (a 15% decline). While we can celebrate that there are fewer and fewer distressed sales on the market, we can’t ignore the fact that they still account for 4 out of every 10 sales.
When properties are sold in foreclosure or as a short sale, they tend to be sold below the price of a similar “resale” home. This causes all home values to decline – as we have witnessed over the last six years. Because prices have declined, there are fewer “resale” homeowners that are willing (or able) to sell their home at current market prices. As a result, the number of “resale” listings continues to decline. Thus, increasing the competition for the homes that are on the market.
The Market Has “Shifted” From a “Buyers Market” to a “Seller’s Market”
Increasing sales combined with decreasing inventory of listings reduced the months of supply to 4.2 months in December. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicts that when there is a 6-7 month supply of homes for sale the market is considered “balanced”. For the last six years we have experienced a strong “Buyer’s Market”.
Today, the pendulum has shifted to a “Seller’s Market” with the sellers, oftentimes, sitting in the driver’s seat. The market has seen a 15% decrease in the number of price reductions, 13% decrease in the number of failed listings, a 27% decline in the number of days to go under contract, and a 6.6% increase in the amount negotiated off the list price.
Sellers are Having to Negotiate Less Off the List Price
Many of the buyers that I worked with last year found out quickly that the real estate market wasn’t at all what they expected. My buyers were having a harder time locating good properties (due to low inventory levels) and when they did find a nice home it would either go under contract before they had a chance to put in an offer OR they found themselves in a multiple offer situation. In fact, 1 out of every five homes that sold last year sold for at, or above, the list price.
As we move into 2013, I am encouraging my buyers to be prepared to act quickly if the “right” home comes on the market. It is important to look at the history of the listing to (1) see if it is priced to market and (2) consider the history of the listing and the motivation of the seller.
New Construction is Back
Have you noticed that new homes are starting to be built in the Atlanta area? According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, housing starts in metro Atlanta increased 50.3 percent in the third quarter. You can expect more and more new construction as we move into 2013 (NAR expects a national increase of 40% in 2013).
What this means for Sellers
In the past, potential sellers have been reluctant to list their home due to the slow market. Now the may want to list to take advantage of the current supply/demand shift.
The downward pressure from distressed properties on selling prices for all properties has been somewhat offset by lower inventory, so now may be a better time to sell than in recent months.
Setting a realistic listing price, that is in line with buyer expectations, can result in selling for the list price or even more.
If a home is listed at the current market price, the seller should expect an offer, on average, in 27 days and receive 98.5% of the list price. If the home is listed at too high of a price the average days on market is 96 days and the sales price is 88% of the original list price (with a 35% chance of failing to sell).
Sellers should hire a REALTOR that can help them continuously re-evaluate the market trends.
What this means for Buyers
The supply and demand relationship has shifted to the seller’s advantage. If that continues, fast action and realistic offers will be necessary for buyers to capitalize on the still-low prices available in the Atlanta housing market.
Buyers interested only in purchasing distressed properties need to be aware that the supply has dropped to a point where competition among buyers for that supply has spiked, making realistic offers a must for the best properties.
Be aware that low-ball offers on highly sought after properties will likely result in missing out on a great opportunity.
Even though it is getting more competitive for buyers, the good news is that prices and interest rates are still historically low so if the right property is found, this is a very good time to buy.
If you have been waiting for the market to improve to sell your home, your wait may be over. Admittedly, prices are considerably below where they were before the recession, but, if you plan to buy another home, what you lose on the sale you may gain on the buy side. Since inventory levels are low, most of the homes that I have listed in the last few months sell within a couple weeks. We desperately need more homes on the market because we have “ready, willing and able” buyers who are desperately searching for the right home – It may be yours!!!
If you are considering purchasing a home you need to get going! Prices are still low, interest rates are at historically low levels, and the market is improving (which means prices are probably not going down any more!).
I’d love to be the person to help make your next move a great one!
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Buying a Cobb County Home in 2013? What You Need To Know…
10 Dec 2012 · by Connie Carlson
Cobb County Housing Market Report From a Buyer’s Perspective
As we wind down the year, I am amazed to see how the Cobb County housing market has transformed over the last 12 months. A year ago, it was a Buyer’s Market in most areas of Atlanta. Fast forward one year and most of Cobb County is now experiencing a Seller’s Market. This means that the Cobb County Market has gone from having too many homes for sale to now a shortage of homes for sale. So what does this mean to home buyers?
1) More Competition - Don’t dilly-dally
In some price categories, more buyers are in the market looking for homes than there are homes to buy. This means that you should be prepared to potentially compete with another buyer to buy a home. I have had many clients this year lose the house they really wanted to buy because they did not act fast enough. If it’s a nice house at a good price – it won’t be on the market long. If you “sleep on it” you may not “sleep in it”.
2) Be prepared to pay more
As competition for homes increase, buyers are oftentimes competing in a multiple offer scenario. In most cases, homes that receive more than one offer at a time will sell for at or above list price. In fact, in Atlanta 1 out of every 5 homes that sold in the 3rd quarter sold for at or above the list price.
Even if there are not multiple offers on a home, the average sales price to list price ratio has been increasing. This means that homeowners are not as willing to come off as much on the list price as they used to be in the last few years.
3) Harder to find a “steal”
Home prices have dropped substantially since 2007. In some cases, 30% to 50% lower than they were at the height in 2007/2008. However, the days where you can find a home drastically below market are becoming fewer and farther between. In fact, we are starting to see prices go up ever so slightly in some areas of Cobb County.
Reasons to Buy a Home
So with all this going on in the market why do I still confidently say that it’s a great time to buy a Cobb County home. Here are some very good reasons:
1) The window is closing on great deals. If you have been waiting for the real estate market to reach bottom, in my opinion, we may be there.
2) Prices are still low but we may start to see them go up. So you don’t have as much risk in losing equity after you buy.
3) Interest rates are low at between 3.2% and 3.5%.
Foreclosures Declining in Cobb County, Marietta, Kennesaw & Acworth
12 Nov 2012 · by Connie Carlson
Over the last three quarters we have seen a steady decline in the number of short sale and foreclosure sales in the West Cobb market areas of West Marietta, Powder Springs, Acworth and Kennesaw. At the height six out of every ten sales were a foreclosure or short sale. This has steadily declined to four out of every ten sales.
What is interesting to not is that a good majority of the distressed sales in the West Cobb area were in the homes priced under $100,000 where 7 out of every 10 sales were distressed.
Depending on what price category your current home falls into, you may have serious competition from these distressed sales which will continue to put downward pressure on your homes value.
The good news is that as the number of distressed properties decline (and hopefully they will continue to decline) the West Cobb housing market values will not only stabilize but begin to see some slow appreciation.
My expectation is that after the holiday season, we will see more and more resale homes come on the market and we should see a robust Spring buying season. If inventory levels continue to remain low, prices will begin to creep up. Albeit, not at the rate we experienced during the boom years.
Find the few remaining great deals on homes priced
Supply of Homes Shrinking in Atlanta Housing Market
10 Nov 2012 · by Connie Carlson
Atlanta Housing Market Supply
The Atlanta housing market has completely shifted in most parts of Metro Atlanta over the last 8 months. I have presented an illustration that shows “months supply” in the 3rd quarter of 2011 compared to the 3rd quarter of 2012. What the illustration shows is how many months of housing inventory are available in different areas of metro Atlanta. This is an economic indication of supply and demand in the Atlanta housing market.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has indicated that when there is six months of housing inventory the market is “balanced”. When there is more than six months of Atlanta housing inventory then it is considered a “Buyer’s Market” – meaning that there are more homes available for sale than there are Buyers to buy. Conversely, when the month’s of housing inventory is lower than six months it is considered a “Seller’s Market” – meaning there are more buyers than there are homes to buy.
What I have observed is that homebuyers and sellers tend to gravitate towards the herd mentality. Last year, as indicated in illustration 2, we were in a very strong “Buyer’s Market” where the buyers had the advantage in the negotiation of home prices. Even though the buyers had this advantage many buyers were afraid to purchase for fear that home prices had not stopped dropping.
In March, Warren Buffet, arguably one of the most successful investors in the world, stated in an interview with CNBC that now is the time to buy. I believe a lot of savvy investors and homebuyers listened to Mr. Buffet’s advice and started gobbling up properties. Throughout the summer months this year we could not keep up with the demand for investment and starter homes priced under $150,000. We experienced multiple offer situations in almost every offer we made under $150,000. And, oftentimes, we would run into situations were there was not one, not two, but over 30 offers on one property!!!
Now the pendulum is swung and we are experiencing a Seller’s Market in all price ranges under $500,000 in most areas of Atlanta (see Illustration 2 for how your specific area is compared to the rest of Atlanta). However, even though the Seller’s now have the advantage in the negotiation process, many homeowners are still reluctant to sell. Why is this?
In my opinion, having met with many homeowners who would like to sell, home prices have dropped to levels that the homeowners are either unwilling or unable to sell their home at the current market value. Either they owe more on their home than it is worth or they want to walk away from the closing with more money in their pocket.
For homeowners who owe more than their home is worth, if they “must” sell I recommend they look into a variety of options such as short sales, renting, selling other assets, etc.
For homeowners who just “want to make more” because of what they paid, what they have into the house, or what they need to buy their next home, I recommend that they look at not only the money they will net/lose on the sale but also the gain they will get on the buy. Keeping in mind that home values, generally, have dropped everywhere in Atlanta, what you lose on the sale may be gained on the buy.
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Sellers – How Are Atlanta’s Current Housing Market Conditions Affecting YOU?
5 Nov 2012 · by Connie Carlson
How is the housing market affecting Atlanta sellers? The Atlanta housing market has done a complete turnaround in just 6 short months. Last year the Atlanta housing market saw more homes for sale than there was buyers to buy – A BUYER’S MARKET. My how times have changed. As of the 3rd Quarter 2012, most price ranges in Atlanta are experiencing a SELLER’S MARKET meaning that the demand for housing exceeds the supply. This is creating an environment whereby the Sellers are in the drivers seat for the first time in years. In today’s video I will be sharing some of the Atlanta market statistics from the 3rd quarter 2012 and how they directly impact how homes are being sold today!!!
Would you like more details? Check out my website where you can narrow your search to your community via my MARKET STATS website. Here you can get up-to-the-minute data on what is happening in your zip code. Check it out! Also, if you would like me to provide you with a market update on your neighborhood feel free to give me a call. It’s FREE and confidential.
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West Cobb County Housing Market Report – 2nd Quarter 2012
7 Sep 2012 · by Connie Carlson
The West Cobb County housing market has seen tremendous changes over the last 8 months. As usual, the media is slow to publish the positive trends that we are seeing in the market, and especially in the Cobb County housing market. It used to be that I had houses for sale but couldn’t find buyers. Now the tables are turned and we have buyers who can’t find houses.
Around the first of the year, buyers (including local, national and international investors) realized that a combination of historically low interest rates (4% or lower) and low home prices was too good to pass up. As of the end of June, home sales in West Cobb County were up 18.8%. In fact, West Cobb’s home sales have been up 6 consecutive quarters so it appears that this is sustainable growth.
Another great indicator of improvement is that we are seeing increased number of sales in all price ranges under $500,000 whereas in the preceding quarters most of the improvement was in the under $200,000 price range.
Despite the increase in number of homes sold, home prices continue to feel the downward pressure from sales of foreclosure properties and short sale properties. This is especially evident in the under $100,000 price range where 77% of all homes sales were distressed and the $100k-$200k price range where 40% of all homes sold were distressed. Overall, 47% of homes sold in West Cobb were distressed.
The median homes sales price dropped 4% primarily because of the significant increase in number of homes sold under $100,000. In my opinion, we will not witness substantial price appreciation until the market has fewer distressed homes for sale.
Another good sign that the market is improving is that it is taking fewer days for homes to sell. On average, homes are going under contract in 84 days – which is a 29% decrease over last year. And, when a home is listed at the correct price it is, on average, going under contract in just 24 days. If the listing requires a price reduction to get an offer it takes, on average 187 days to get a contract.
Homes that are aggressively priced are experiencing multiple offers and, oftentimes, are selling for more than the list price. In fact, in the second quarter nearly 1 out of every 5 transactions in Atlanta were for more than the list price. I called on one listing last month that had 42 offers! We have investors looking to buy homes that have to make up to 10 offers before the “win” the bid on a property. There truly are some amazing deals in the marketplace but based on the current demand the window of opportunity is closing fast.
The Atlanta and Cobb County markets have seen significant improvement in months of supply. According to the National Association of Realtors, when there is a 6 – 7 months supply of homes for sale it is considered a “balanced” market. If there are less than 6 months of housing inventory (based on the current rate of home sales) then it is considered a seller’s market. Essentially what this means is that there are more buyers than there are homes for sale.
As of the end of June, it is considered a “seller’s market” in all price categories under $500,000.
For homeowners who have been reluctant to list their home due to the slow market they may now want to try to list and take advantage of the current supply/demand shift while they have less competition and a better advantage. Also, the effect of distressed properties on selling prices for all properties has been somewhat offset by the lower inventory, so this could be a better time to sell than in many recent periods.
For buyers, the supply/demand relationship has, at least temporarily, shifted to the seller’s advantage. If that should continue, fast action and realistic offers will be necessary for buyers to capitalize on still low prices for available properties. The good news is that prices are still historically low and interest rates are too, so the if the right properties is found, this is a very good time to be in the market.
Success Strategies for Sellers
Choose to factor in the impact of distressed properties competing for buyers in your price range and location when setting initial listing price.
Re-evaluate market trends continuously to re-assess pricing choice – avoid chasing the market.
Choose to work with a REALTOR® that knows how to properly present your home in its best light through professional staging and photography and state-of-the art technology and Internet marketing.
Success Strategies for Buyers
Evaluate the history of the listing to determine the motivation of the seller. Making a low offer on a desirable property will most likely result in missing out on a great opportunity. Conversely, making too high of an offer on a home that has been listed for a long period of time could result in paying too much.
About 40% of the listings on most public websites (i.e Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com) are no longer on the market – and it takes up to 7 days for new listings to hit these sites. Work with a REALTOR that can provide you up-to-the-minute new listing reports so that you don’t miss out on a great opportunity.
Be prepared to move quickly. Have a preapproval letter from a reputable lender or proof of funds letter. Basically, “if you sleep on it…you might not sleep in it!”
For market information more specific to your home or your buying needs feel free to call Connie Carlson at 678-631-1812 or email her at Connie@LivingInCobb.com.
Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.
The Housing Trends eNewsletter contains the latest information from the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. Census Bureau and Realtor.org reports, videos, key market indicators and real estate sales statistics, a video message by a nationally recognized economist, maps, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, plus local neighborhood information and more. Please click here to view the FEBRUARY-2011 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter.
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