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.
This report provided by:
Connie Carlson, Associate Broker
Keller Williams Realty
On the web: www.LivingInCobb.com
Market Data Provided By: Chartmaster Services, LLC