Category Archives: Atlanta real estate

Millennials want Walkability and Cities are trying to Provide it

We’ve talked in the past about how important it is for cities to re-engineer for more and better walkable neighborhoods.  This is a trend that’s emerged from retirees and millennials demands.  Now there’s a new study out once again reinforcing that the young generation really values a lifestyle that is less dependent on the car.  And a great accompanying article from Atlantic Cities.  From the article:

They found that 54 percent of Millennials surveyed would consider moving to another city if it had more or better options for getting around, and 66 percent said access to high quality transportation is one of the top three criteria they would weigh when deciding where to live. Nearly half of those who owned a car said they would consider giving it up if they could count on public transportation options. Up to 86 percent said it was important for their city to offer opportunities to live and work without relying on a car.

We’re keeping a close eye on this trend and particularly how Atlanta is preparing for this and which of our neighborhoods will benefit from this.


Peoplestown Real Estate Market Update – Homes Sold in 2013 vs 2012

In 2012 there were 47 homes sold in Peoplestown. In 2013 that increased to 52. 2012’s avg price was $91,000, a number heavily influenced by the fact 17 of those sales were for under $50,000. In 2013 the average sale price here increased to $102,000 and only 11 sales were under $50,000. In 2012 homes in Peoplestown sat on the market an average of 190 days but this past year that number dropped to only 83 days. Pretty significant improvement across the board.  The most surprising number here is that more homes sold in 2013 vs 2012.  That is a pleasantly surprising number since there were fewer homes on the market in 2013.  Click on the links to see specifics about each year.

2012 Peoplestown Sales – PDF

2013 Peoplestown Sales – PDF

So if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Southeast Atlanta, whether it’s Peolestown, Grant Park, Cabbagetown, Summerhill or wherever give us a call today!  You need a local expert.


Bam! Just Like that Mortgage Rates are Back Down

Mortgage rates dropped to levels not seen since June this week.  The government re-start and a weak jobs report means the Fed will keep pumping money into the economy and this should keep interest rates low.  Fear of rising interest rates pushed people into buying mode in the Spring but then as they inched up we saw demand slow in August and September.  The shutdown hurt demand as well as buyers decided to take a wait-and-see approach.  Now with the dust settled for the moment in Washington and lower rates coming we’re already seeing business pick up.

The rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.13 percent this week, down from last week’s 4.28 percent and the 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.24 percent, down from 3.33 percent last week.

Thinking if buying or selling?  Then you need to be talking to your agent to find out what your best strategy should be in this quickly changing market.  Give us a call or shoot us an email and we’ll be happy to help you out.

If you’d like more info on rates then check out this article from USA Today.

Will New Loan Limits Affect Atlanta’s Real Estate Market?

     Government officials are reviewing reducing loan limits for conforming mortgages, a change which could affect Atlanta.  From a report from NAR;

In early September, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the entity that oversees Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, gave notice that it would revise the conforming loans limits in an attempt to stimulate the private sector, specifically the private mortgage securitization (PLS) market. Though any reduction in the loan limits is expected to be relatively modest, it could have more far reaching impacts at the local level and for the affected borrowers.

Each year, the FHFA adjusts the national conforming loan limit which defines the space within which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can finance mortgage. The national limit is $417,000, but that varies by county and can increase to $625,500 in high cost markets. The FHA’s limits, which range from $261,050 to $725,750, are based off of the conforming limit so the FHFA’s actions would impact FHA borrowers as well.

NAR Research estimates that if the national conforming limit were lowered to $400,000, roughly 145,000 total conforming mortgages and 49,000 conforming purchase mortgages would have been impacted in 2012 [1]. If the FHA limits were also revised, the impact would be larger by roughly 15,000 and 7,000 borrowers, respectively. The total number was inflated due to the refinance boom in 2012. However, strong price growth in 2013 has likely pushed more home buyers toward the conforming limits. Most estimates have the impacted volume at roughly 2-5% nationally.


While the estimate of the national impact may appear relatively small, the change could have a significant effect at the local level. As depicted in the map below, the impact goes beyond the high priced markets on the coasts and would affect some smaller communities in the Midwest and South. Furthermore, several of the markets in the top 25 most impacted are in formerly distressed areas (e.g. Atlanta, Sacramento, Riverside-San Bernadine, Oakland, Tampa, and Phoenix). These are areas where FICO scores declined in recent years as a result of the economic and housing downturn and where investors have played an important role in their recovery. As prices rise and rent growth flattens, investors will pull back and it is not clear that the PLS industry is currently ready to provide financing for the nascent volume of home buyers needed to fill the void. Some private mortgage insurers recently announced willingness to underwrite mortgages with FICOs between 620 and 680. It will be particularly interesting and instructive to see how lenders respond to this change. But requirements at jumbo lenders and PLS remain significantly higher with minimum FICO scores above 720, down payments of 20% or more, and cash reserves of nine months or more. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as the FHA have new programs to help borrowers in these distressed areas, but they are less potent if reduced limits disqualify borrowers.

Beyond the distressed areas, borrowers pushed into the non-conforming space or from FHA to convention-conforming market may not have the same access to credit due to higher FICO, down payment, and reserve requirements. Since mortgage rates are already at parity or better in the jumbo space and part of the conforming-conventional, if a borrower had sufficient credit quality, the down payment, and the reserve requirements they likely would have already migrated to the private sector. Similarly, the FHA has been underpriced by the private MIs at the middle and upper price echelons since the fall of 2012. Lowering the limits could create a binding equity or credit constraint for the remaining borrowers in this space.

Finally, it isn’t clear that lowering the limits will stimulate the PLS market. There are still a number of issues hindering the PLS market including representation and warrants risk, the unfinished QRM rule, concerns about the implementation and ramifications of the qualified mortgage (QM) rule, secondary market reform and lingering negative investor sentiment. Nor is it clear that bank portfolios will expand to sustain these borrowers. The FHFA might accomplish its goal of expanding the private sector’s market share, but this feat would be accomplished by reducing the total number of borrowers, not by pushing borrowers into the private space.

Though well intended, a reduction in loan limits could crowd out many otherwise qualified and sustainable borrowers. There may be a time when the PLS sector is ready, but it isn’t clear that PLS issuers are ready to take up the baton of borrowers impacted by lowering the limits.

[1] Based on analysis of 2012 HMDA dataset

A Little More Info on Atlanta’s Walkability

leinberger          We read Chris Leinberger’s and the ARC’s report on where development is happening in Atlanta now.  Leinberger has studied Atlanta’s real estate market for years.  We wrote about the study recently here.   One of the surprising facts is how much development  is happening in what Leinberger rates as ‘walkable’ neighborhoods.  His study showed that 60% of all development since 2008 had taken place in walkable neighborhoods.  We found this really surprising.  We’ve written extensively how a new urbanism is causing people to move to more urban areas and how those same people were willing to pay significant premiums to live in these neighborhoods.

But we dug further into the study and it’s even more surprising.  When we look at the neighborhoods that were considered walkable, they are only a small portion of the Atlanta area.  In fact if you add up all the area that these walkable neighborhoods include they only add up to about 1% of all the area of Atlanta!  That’s an amazing statistic and it has huge implications for our city and for you.  If you’re thinking of buying you need to be considering walkable of future walkable areas.  It could have a tremendous impact on future value.

While it’s not perfect this site, Walkscore , is a good way to rate neighborhoods that you’re not familiar with.  And stay tuned as we’re still researching this report and we’ll have more on it.  Need more info?  Give us a call today or shoot us an email. We’d love to help.

How old are your Washing machine Hoses?

Ever heard of a washing machine hose breaking and then pouring tons of water into a home?  Of course you have because most people have experienced this at one time or another or had a friend that dealt with it.  So when is the last time you replaced yours?   Take a look at them.  They’re cheap to buy and installing is an easy DIY project.  Don’t leave those hoses on forever and cross your fingers.  Here’s an excellent article with more details about saving your home from catastrophe.

Take a Look at These Atlanta Promo Vids from the 80’s !

We have tall buildings!  We have lots and lots of interstates!   These two videos from the 80’s give us a little different perspective as to what was important to city planners and recruiters 30 years ago.  Enjoy!  (and how about that cool soundtrack)


Jobs Report Misses. Will Mortgage Rates Drop ?

Holy Guacamole! Less than 4% ?      Here at homesinatlanta we keep a close eye on the jobs report.  More people getting jobs usually means more houses will sell.  Today’s job report was disappointing but like so many things in our complicated economy this might be good news or bad news.  Why?  Well a slower economy means the Fed may keep buying up mortgage backed securities which means mortgage rates may come back down. May, may, may!   Confused yet?  Don’t feel bad plenty of people are.  Our estimate is we’ll see rates drop slightly but not back to where they were in the Spring.  Get used to 4% plus, but this report may keep us out of the 5% range.  What is important to know is that rates are going to stay higher than their bottom this past year and that home prices appear to be increasing.  It’s why you need a  smart agent.  Is it the right time to buy or sell for you?  Then give us a call or log in to our web site at           And if you’re a numbers nerd like me you may want to check out all the employment figures from this report on CNBC.

Pow! Foreclosures now at 2006 Levels

housing_graph        Foreclosures, Foreclosures!  They played a huge part in bringing down the housing market and they’ve seemingly been hanging like dark storm clouds over the market ever since.  And remember that ‘shadow inventory’?  Millions of homes were going to drop out of the sky and flood the market at anytime.  But the truth is that we’ve been working through these foreclosures and getting them off the market for some time.   Now a new report from RealtyTrac shows that foreclosures over the past year have dropped 35% and now are at levels not seen since December 2006.  So what happened?  One, the economy has been improving and two, banks’ tighter lending standards mean that almost NO loans since 2009 have been going into default.  It’s the typical market business cycle.

And what does this mean for you?  If you own a house and you’ve been thinking of selling fewer foreclosures mean prices are ticking higher.  If you’re a buyer it means you’ve probably missed out on the lowest (and riskiest) prices but you can still get a bargain and there is still more upside in prices to come to the market.  Lastly, it’s important to note that here in Georgia we still have one of the highest rates of foreclosure so we’re not out of the woods yet.  So call us or call your agent today and get some good advice on how you should proceed.

Did you See That? Foreclosures just plunged again in Atlanta

IMG_1575    The number of foreclosures in Georgia and Atlanta fell again in April versus the same time last year according to new numbers from RaeltyTrac.  It’s a trend we’ve been seeing for awhile here at  the Homes in Atlanta blog.  Overall in Georgia foreclosures were down a whopping 42% from a year ago and 5% down just from March!  These are dramatic changes which are rapidly changing the real estate market here.  There are several reasons for the drop.  The economy is improving and people that have gotten a loan since 2008 have an incredibly low delinquency rate.  Also, the improving economy means fewer people getting behind on their payments.  And last, banks are doing a better job of working with sellers on short sales.  Shadow inventory, shmadow inventory.  There simply is no glut of houses out there waiting to come onto the market.  And there are fewer and fewer homes headed for foreclosure.  If you’re thinking of buying you need to move your timeline up and if you’re thinking of selling you need to be calling us today.