Your 2015 Grant Park Real Estate Market Update

Grant Park    In our quest to keep our loyal readers up to date on Atlanta’s Real Estate Market we bring you Grant Park for the first half of 2015.  Like much of Atlanta, Grant Park has been hot and seen increasing prices and tight inventory.  For the uninitiated, here’s a refresher course.

Grant Park is one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods, known especially for it’s Victorian Homes and the 131 acre park it surrounds.  Grant Park has been designated a historic district.  The name comes form Lemuel P Grant, who donated the land for the park and built several homes nearby.  Besides the park itself, Zoo Atlanta is located here and Atlanta’s famous Oakland Cemetery is located on the north side of the neighborhood.   In the last few years Grant Park has become more of a family neighborhood with strollers and kids always present at the park.   Inside the neighborhood is Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School and the improving Parkside Elementary.

On to the numbers.  We’re looking at the first half of 2015 and comparing to the same time in 2014.  Due to seasonal changes in the real estate market year-over-year numbers are the best comparison.  We’ve had quite a bit of activity in Grant Park this year.  During the first half of 2015 110 homes in Grant Park were sold.  The average price was $332,000.  Sellers got 97.5% of asking price and got their homes under contract in an average of 53 days.  By comparison in the first half of 2014 there were 8o homes sold for an average price $339,000 and sold in 60 days.   At first it looks like home prices here went down but that’s not the case.  It’s just that the mix of homes was different and some higher dollar homes changed hands in 2014.   When we look at apples-to apples comparisons we see that per square foot prices increased just under 5% from 2014 to 2015 and we’re expecting a similar increase this coming year.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling in Grant Park or anywhere in Atlanta you need an expert and we can help.  Give us a call or shoot us an email.  We’d love to help!

And if you’d like mre detauils here are links to our 2014 and 2015 reports.  All numbers have come from First MLS.

2014 First Half Report for Grant Park

2015 First Half Report for Grant Park

2015 Market Review for Spire in Midtown Atlanta


The next in our series of Condo Market updates is ‘Spire’ on Peachtree St in Midtown Atlanta.  Spire was built in 2005.  It’s 28 stories tall and has 393 units.  It includes 21,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor and just about everything you’d need is in walking distance of this building.  This complex also features an amazing pool and amenities with great views.

We started by reviewing sales in this building in the first half of 2015.  There are currently just six units for sale here.  A two bedroom and five one bedrooms so inventory is sparse, just like all over Atlanta.  During the first 6 months of 2015 there were 13 sales of one bedroom units.  They sold for an average of $219,000 in an average of 54 days.  Ten two bedroom units sold during that same period for an average of $359,000 in just 63 days.  This shows a strong market for Spire that’s not expected to quit any time soon.

Comparing these numbers to the last half of 2014 was a little tough as we’ll explain in a moment.  During the last 6 months of 2014 there were seventeen one bedroom units sold for an average of $202,000.  This reflects an 8 – 10% increase in value over this period and that’s typical of what we’ve seen for quality condo buildings in Midtown.  Where it gets a little tougher is that only three two bedroom units sold during this time so the $363,000 average for those doesn’t tell us much.

What we do know about this market and can tell from these stats is that the midtown condo market is strong and we’re not seeing it let up anytime soon.  We just expect continued appreciation.   We’ve done an analysis of one bedroom and two bedroom units here but remember that many factors can affect value even in the same building.  Those factors can include what floor, the view, proximity to parking or amenities, finishes, etc.  So if you’re thinking of buying or selling a condo you need to contact someone who is an expert in that market.  We’d love to help you in any way we can.  Please contact us by emailing or calling us today.

Notes;  All statistics are taken from First MLS and we’ve included links below to both reports.

Spire Market Review First Half of 2015

Spire Market Review Second Half of 2014

Plaza Midtown in Atlanta Market Update (hint, It’s a hot building!)

plaza-midtown   We’re always keeping abreast of the Atlanta condo market here at ‘Homes in Atlanta’ and today we’re focusing on Plaza Midtown.  It’s a great building completed in 2006, 20 stories tall and has 418 units.  It offers shopping amenities including a Publix in the building and restaurants and bars close by.  It’s also located just 800 feet from the Midtown Marta station.   That has become a big factor in value in Atlanta.

We looked at sales in the first half of 2015 versus the last 6 months of 2014 and here’s what we’ve found.   First, this is  a hot building with only 2 units currently on the market and 6 under contract.  Wow!  In the last half of 2014 one bedroom units sold for an average of $208,000 on 5 sales.  The average time on market for these were 16 days  (note, one unit languished on the market for 292 days but since it was such an outlier we threw it out).  Two bedroom units sold for an average of $309,000 in 94 days.

Now lets look at the first half of 2015.  Now one bedrooms are selling for an average of $224,000 in just 11 days!    Meanwhile two bedrooms are now going for $342,000 and selling in just 21 days.  

These numbers show an 8 to 10% increase in value over this short amount of time.  What does this tell us?  We know there is a shortage of quality condos in Atlanta and particularly in the Midtown market.  We’re seeing number like these in good buildings like Plaza, Spire and Metropolis.  Quality buildings are getting premium pricing.  And don’t forget the proximity to Marta we mentioned earlier.  Keep in mind these are average numbers and each unit must be evaluated individually to get a proper value.   If you want more specifics, you can click on the links below to get all the details.   Note; all numbers come from First MLS.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a condo in Midtown or anywhere in Atlanta give us a call.  You need an expert that knows the market.

Plaza Midtown Market Stats Second Half of 2014

Plaza Midtown Market Stats First Half of 2015

Mortgage Rates Inch Higher

Mortgage rates continued their slow, incremental move up the last few weeks with fears of Greek economic turmoil and a slowing Chinese economy.  Also Janet Yellin suggested the Fed was ready to raise interest rates this fall.

From Realtor MAgazine and Freddie Mac;

The average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased five basis points this week, averaging 4.09 percent, the highest level since October of last year.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending July 16:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.09 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising form last week’s 4.04 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.13 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.25 percent, with an average 0.6 point, increasing from last week’s 3.20 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.23 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.96 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 2.93 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.97 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.50 percent, with an average 0.3 point, holding the same from last week. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.39 percent.

Thinking of Adding Someone Else to the Title of Your Home?

For various reasons sometimes people will want to add someone else to the title of their home or may want to buy with the loan in their name but then add their significant other to the title.  There are several things to consider when doing this.  Our good friend Kati Heller at McManamy McLeod and Heller has given us some guidelines regarding this.  Take a look and as always, consult an attorney.

It is common in closings that a transaction may close in one name but the purchaser wishes the title to be held some other way after closing.
If there is a lender involved, the first step is to check that they will allow this to happen.
If they do, then typically the lender will have the non-borrowing party sign both the Security
Deed and the Truth In Lending document. Therefore, the person being added to title will need to
attend the closing ceremony and both names should be listed on the contract.
If there is a typical loan involved this is a violation of the due on sale clause contained in the
Security Deed. Many times the parties are willing to take that risk and if so, they will need to
have a deed prepared after closing, transferring the property to the name of the desired entity or
party. If the lender discovers this the lender can call the entire loan due. The attorney that
handled the closing will not typically be willing to prepare a deed under this circumstance.
If a deed is done in this situation, the person being added does not need to be present to sign the

1. If the title is changed after closing without the lender’s permission the lender could call
the loan due under the Due on Sale Clause of the Security Deed.
2. If a name is being added to title it is advised to do a lien search on the name being added.
Any lien against that person will attach to the property. The property will not be able to
be sold without either paying or cancelling the lien.
3. The person added to title will have to sign any deed to further transfer or encumber the
4. Changing the name on the title could invalidate or reduce the coverage under the owner’s
title insurance policy.
McManamy McLeod Heller, LLC charges $100.00 for each additional deed. The cost to
record the deeds at the courthouse are $10 for each first page and $2 for each additional page.

Mortgage Rates Rise Above 4%


Mortgage rates for 30 year fixed rose above 4% this week for the first time since November of 2014.   Although they just now broke the 4% barrier they have been climbing the last 2 weeks.  The 30 year fixed rate averaged 4.04%, up from 3.87% 2 weeks ago.  The reason is that employment data is looking strong which is driving up U.S. Treasury yields.  There have been rumblings that we’d see the fed increase it’s rates.  This is part of the cause since the Fed has said it’s watching employment numbers carefully.

This quote is from

“Mortgage rates rocketed higher following a stronger than expected monthly employment report. The good news on the job front further solidifies the notion that the Federal Reserve will likely begin raising interest rates soon, perhaps in the third quarter of this year,” analysts with Bankrate said about the report.

“The job market is one area the Fed has specifically pointed to as needing to show further improvement before they’d be comfortable raising short-term interest rates, and further improvement is what we have seen,” continued Bankrate

So if you’re considering buying now or later, keep a close eye on these rates.

Have you Registered or Renewed Your Alarm Registration?

city of atlanta logo 

Did you know that you are required to register your alarm if you live in the city of Atlanta.  And if you have registered you have to renew your registration each year.  It’s free to register but if you haven’t registered and you have a false alarm the city may fine you as much as $150.    So make sure you’re registered.  Here’s a link to the registration site.

Ways to Make Your Unfinished Basement Great

Here at homesinatlanta we’re big fans of the site and app, Brightnest.  This month the have an excellent article about ways to improve on your unfinished basement.  You know, short of finishing it, of course!

Here’s the six ways and here’s a link to the original article.

1. Stop the Moisture

The biggest anti-cozy factor in most unfinished basements is moisture. Nobody likes that damp, wet sock smell, and you can’t put nice things down there if they’re just going to get wet. That means that before you do anything else, you need to handle the moisture issue. Sometimes this is as simple as purchasing a dehumidifier (about $200) and letting it rip.

If your moisture problems are more serious (i.e. leaks or puddles), you’ll need to employ a more aggressive basement waterproofing strategy. Note: A basic waterproofing will run you $200-$500, but if any changes need to be made to your foundation, it can cost $2,000 or more.

2. Add Some Area Rugs

Now that your basement is moisture-free, you can cozy up that concrete floor. Area rugs are a cost-effective way to do just that. If you happen to have a few unused rugs, put them to good use  downstairs (an eclectic look totally works, so don’t be afraid to mix and match). Tip: No extra rugs? No problem. We recommend using Amazon’s handy rug finder to locate a size, pattern and price that works for you.

3. Throw Down Some Pillows

When in doubt, add throw pillows. Even a second-string sofa with feel cozy if it’s covered with soft cushions. We recommend choosing ones that are pretty big for some extra comfort. These 20×20 Isabella Ikat pillows might do the trick, or maybe these 24” Knit Fringed pillows are more your style? Tip: If you like the bohemian look, try arranging on a bunch of throw pillows on your new, awesome rug.

4. Add Tasteful Lighting

Nothing kills the mood faster than a bunch of naked bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Make them irrelevant by adding lamps, string lights or both. You can find a lot of nice floor lamps for less than $50, like this IKEA lamp for $20.

5. Hide Unsightly Spots

It’s going to be hard to make that water heater in the corner look chic, but it’ll be easy to hide that ugly beast. Simply hang up a colorful sheet or even a shower curtain in front of it! If you want to help separate out different areas of your basement in a tasteful fashion, try a room divider. Wine crates, bookshelves and window frames all make good, cheap room dividers.

6. Paint the Ceiling

Those pipes, joists and air ducts definitely take away from your cozy basement vibe. But if you paint everything a dark color – like a charcoal gray – you can go a long way towards disguising all the stuff going on up there. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than covering your ceiling with drywall ($4,000 or more). Note: Doing this yourself is very labor intensive, since a lot of the painting may need to be done by hand. There may also be some special considerations for electrical wiring or heating pipes. Unless you’re an experience painter (or are up for a challenge) we recommend hiring a professional for this.

CoreLogic’s 5 keys to Housing in 2015 and do they apply in Atlanta?

house         Last week had an article about CoreLogic’s keys to housing in 2015.  We decided to take a look and see how it applies in Atlanta.

1.  Millenials will start buying.   CoreLogic states that better employment and higher income for Millenials will mean more will enter the real estate market as first time buyers.  This definitely will influence Atlanta’s intown market as more Millenials move in coupled with the fact that Atlanta is relatively cheap and still affordable for first time buyers.

2.  Oil price drops will benefit housing.  Outside of making people feel better about the economy and their wallet I don’t see this affecting Atlanta.  CoreLogic specifically refers to energy costs in the home but Georgia is already a low cost energy state so I don’t see this affecting us much.

3.  Home price growth will remain muted.   Here at homesinatlanta we’re in agreement with this one.  Home prices have increased but wage increases aren’t keeping up.  House prices can’t continue to beat income growth so we’ll see slightly higher prices but they’ll increase at a slower rate than in 2014.

4.  Houston will be the most interesting housing market to watch.  This obviously isn’t about Atlanta but it will be interesting to watch Houston because it has a growing population (good) but lower oil prices (bad).  We think the most interesting market to watch will be Atlanta!

5.  Housing demand will jump.   This is their most interesting trend.  A couple of data points.  Mortgage rates aren’t expected to rise and sales are expected to rise 9% over 2015.  We’ll keep a close eye on this.  If sales are going to increase where will the extra inventory come from to keep prices down.

Want to know more about CoreLogic and Housingwires article?  You can read it here.

The Good News in Today’s Housing Starts Report

If you just read the headline in today’s Commerce Report for housing starts it looks bad.  New housing starts were down 2.8%.  This is usually an indication that builders are seeing a slowing market and cut back on new construction.  But let’s look a little deeper.  The reason overall starts were down is that multi-family (apartments) construction is down. But single family home starts were up and building permits for future single family home were up 4.8%.   We’re in a slow growth economy and this report supports that and let’s hope we continue to see a trend of fewer multi-family homes and more single family which have a more significant impact on the economy.  The Wall Street Journal has a great article here if you’d like more info.