Category Archives: national economy

Why are Mortgage Rates Rising ?

graphWe’ve been enjoying super low mortgage rates since about 2008.  They’ve helped the real estate market to rebound and help a lot of people get some great mortgage deals.  However, in the last month mortgage rates have gone from an average of 3.3% to 3.8%.  That’s a pretty big jump in a short time.  What gives?  First let’s talk about the reason for the low rates.  The Federal Reserve has been pumping money into our economy and at the same time loaning money to banks at virtually 0%.  These actions have made borrowing money very cheap.  Now the economy is improving and The Fed is now putting out signals that it’s going to slow down and let the economy run on it’s own.  They’re talking about changing this fall but just putting out the word has caused fewer people to buy bonds thus pushing interest rates up.

What does this mean for me ?

In the short term I’d say we can expect interest rates to creep up.  If you’re thinking about buying you need to be moving fairly quickly.  But if you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that already.  We’ve been warning you for awhile about the inventory shortages and higher interest rates.  If you’re thinking of selling you may want to push up your timetable as well.  Higher interest rates can have a negative effect on prices.  But it’s not time to panic.  A 3.8 % average mortgage rate is still ridiculously cheap to borrow.  So what’s your situation?  Give us a call today and we ca advise you on the best course of action.

Atlanta Home Prices could Rise as much as 10% this Year

IMG_1575     We’ve been watching real estate in Atlanta turn around over the past year.  Less inventory, more buyers and an improving employment situation are all changing the market.  Now today we have a new report from Metrostudy that predicts home prices in Atlanta will increase as much as 10% in 2013.    It’s a great article and has more details if you want to read it but the story here is Atlanta is back and if you were waiting for the bottom it’s easy to see.  The bottom happened a year ago.

Atlanta Real Estate is Undervalued

moneyAt least according to this new report from Fitch and Real Estate Economy Watch, it is.  Actually what the report says is that real estate overall is overvalued 10%.  I was blown away when I read that but then I found this nugget in the report.  ‘The report highlighted hardest hit metros such as Phoenix, Atlanta, and Riverside, noting they are now beginning to recover and are currently considered “undervalued.”   No surprise here.  We’ve been telling you that inventory was disappearing and more and more houses on the market are being sold quickly and with multiple offers.  And there’s no end currently in sight.   Looks like Buffet, trump and Clark Howard were right.  it’s time to buy a home.   Give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help you out !

What’s in store for Atlanta Real Estate in 2013 ?

With the last week of 2012 upon us, here at HomesInAtlanta we’re going to be taking a look at what’s going to happen in 2013.   Here’s our first look.  It comes from the Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends Real Estate Report for 2013.  It’s focused more on commercial real estate but it covers a lot of ground so it’s worthwhile reading.  You can find it here.    Here’s a report on the Atlanta market that’s worth highlighting (also in case you don’t want to read the whole thing.  It says what you’ve been reading here.  Slow but steady improvement in Atlanta due to job and population growth but nothing is exploding yet as we’re still crawling from the wreckage of 2007/2008.   From ULI…..

‘Atlanta (35). Similar to the case for the other three major
markets that failed to make the top 20, Atlanta’s loss of employment
and the housing collapse affect interest in commercial real
estate. Median home prices in the metro area have sunk below
$100,000 and are projected to decline another 60 basis points
next year. Even with these difficulties, job growth is showing
improvement and is projected to increase 2.6 percent. GMP
looks strong as well and is projected to rise 2.9 percent in 2013,
far exceeding the city’s ten-year average. Concludes one investor,
“We will see more activity in Atlanta in 2013 as job growth
With signs of improvement, investment, development, and
homebuilding all make positive moves in overall rank. “Atlanta’s
size is something you have to look at for investments.” As in
many markets, apartments are one of the sectors suggested
for purchases in Atlanta. The industrial sector registered a buy
as well because increases in manufacturing, warehousing, and
shipping are expected in the near future. Hold is the recommendation,
however, for offices, hotels, and retail space.’

Discounts on Foreclosures are Shrinking.

We’re seeing pricing on foreclosures increase just like individual sales.  Now from this report from Real Estate Economy Watch we’re seeing the amount of discount off list price shrink as well.  From the report,  “The national average discount on foreclosures has shrunk by 1.4 percentage points over the past year as competition for foreclosures as inventories tighten is driving prices closer to full-price properties.  Homebuyers nationwide in September could expect a discount of 7.7 percent when buying a bank-owned property (REO) versus the same home in a non-distressed sale, according to a new Zillow analysis.  The discount narrowed from 9.1 percent during the same month last year and has fallen dramatically from a peak national discount of 23.7 percent in August 2009. Zillow compared the actual sale price of foreclosed homes nationwide to the estimated price of the same home were it to sell in a non-distressed transaction.”

It’s more evidence of a tightened market.  If you’re thinking of buying give us a call.  We can give you all the details on each area of Atlanta.

No surprise here, Housing starts hit a 4 year high

Housing is turning around and as we’ve seen in the past things can change quickly.  This is what we’re seeing today.  More buyers and fewer homes on the market.  We’ve been watching this happen for about a year.  Now we’re seeing the home construction market catch up.  Builders, both the big nationals and smaller local guys are building again, buying land and pushing up lot prices.  Today’s report shows new housing permits just hit a four year high.  This report exceeded ALL forecasts.   So what does it mean for you?  If you’re thinking of buying you need to develop new startegies for finding your home and being ready to move quickly when you find your home. If you’re thinking of selling your home then you need to be calling us today.  This is the best market for sellers in years!

Rising home values means 1 million more home owners now above water

The number of home owners that owe more than their house is worth fell by nearly 6% due to rising home values.  Home equity rose by nearly half a trillion dollars in the first quarter of this year (it’s the most recent date for these statistics).  It’s another sign that the housing market is continuing it’s slow recovery.  We got these numbers from this excellent post from Real Estate Economy Watch and CoreLogic.  So what does it mean for you?  If you’re thinking of buying or selling you need to be taking action soon.  We’re seeing a real tightening of housing supply and lots of multiple offer situations.  I don’t think this lack of inventory will last.  It’s just that we had too many houses and not enough buyers and now we have more buyers and not enough sellers.  It’s going to equal out.  But low prices and super low interest rates won’t last forever.   Give us a call today and we can send advise you on your best plan of action or check out our web site here.

Where’s the Inventory?

That’s the question buyers are asking everywhere these days.  There are so few homes to buy right now.   While the number of buyers seems the same or is growing slightly, home buyers signed fewer contracts to buy existing homes in June.  The pending home sales index from the National Association of Realtors fell 1.4 percent from May. It is up 9.5% from June of 2011.  The problem is there aren’t many homes available.  And specifically there are fewer foreclosures out there.  The lack of supply is pushing prices up across the country, especially in heavy investor areas like Phoenix.  Atlanta overall is still lagging but the intown market here has really heated up.  We’re seeing many multiple offer and above list price offer situation.  So what happens next?  well first the National Association of Realtors has released a letter to the banks asking them to release more foreclosures (how crazy is that?).   So we’ll see.  I can’t see the banks holding back on foreclosures strategically because the banks just aren’t that smart or well managed.  Are we going to see more foreclosures hit the market soon?  we’ll see.  But the bigger lesson here is that the housing market is still improving over it’s bottom and it’s doing better despite so many other negatives in our economy.  And more than ever you need an experienced Realtor that can guide you through these crazy times and help you develop a good strategy.  If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home give us a call and we’ll guide you through these crazy times.

Pending home sales up again in May

Pending home sales bounced back in May, matching the highest level in the past two years, and are well above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors®.  Both monthly and annual gains were seen in every region.  The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 5.9 percent to 101.1 in May from 95.5 in April and is 13.3 percent above May 2011 when it was 89.2.  The data reflect contracts but not closings.  The index also reached 101.1 in March, which is the highest level since April 2010 when buyers were rushing to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit.  For all the details check out the full story at the NAR web site.

Are Atlanta’s home prices headed up?

Where are Atlanta’s home prices headed?  This week the S&P/Case Schiller home index showed prices nationally increasing over 1%.  The best gains came in places like Phoenix and Miami that have been hit the hardest.  Why?  These areas have gone through the bottom now (we wondered at times if we’d ever find the bottom) and they are showing signs of coming back.  Meanwhile Atlanta prices showed decline.  Why?  I’d say that Atlanta is now in the same place.  We’ve hit the bottom and I think we’re poised to bounce back.  The Case/Schiller study looks back at activity but here on the ground we’ve already seen foreclosure supply (and supply in general) drying up.  New listings are going under contract quickly and close to list price.  We’re about to see prices increase in Atlanta, particularly the intown market.  If you’ve been on the fence you need to be talking to your Realtor and considering your options or give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss how we can help.