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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

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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.

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 HousingWire.com 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.

Things to Know When Buying or Selling and a Tenant Occupies the Property

Our favorite closing attorney, Kati Heller, is always giving us great info and advice about the pitfalls to avoid in a real estate transaction.   Today she focused on tenants and I’ll just share it here since she says it better than I can;

We are seeing more and more properties being sold with tenants either occupying the property or leaving just before the closing. Here are some things to provide for in your contract to avoid surprises at closing.  

SECURITY DEPOSITS

If there is a security deposit being held by the Seller, be sure the contract stipulates whether the deposit will be transferred at closing. If the tenant is remaining in the property after the closing, the Purchaser will be responsible for refunding that money.  If there is a lender involved, the lender will need to know about this in advance to get it approved by their underwriting department.

RENT PRORATION

If the rent needs to be prorated then there should be a contract stipulation stating what the proration will be based upon. The closing attorney will need to know in advance what the terms of the lease are and if the current month’s rent has been paid.  If there is a lender involved, the lender will need to know about this in advance to get it approved by their underwriting department.

ESTOPPEL AFFIDAVIT

It is a good idea to get the Seller and the Tenant to sign an estoppel affidavit listing the terms of the lease. It is common that there is not a written lease after extended tenancies. The Purchaser needs to be certain what the terms of the lease are so that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

INSURANCE POLICY

The Purchaser will need to be aware that they should purchase a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy that provides protection as a Landlord.

Woodstock Gets a Shout Out from CNBC on Walkability

woodstock       Here at homesinatlanta we love to babble incessantly about walkable neighborhoods.  Why?  Because this is the future of real estate.  We like to focus on the Intown market and all the great areas like Inman Park and the Old Fourth Ward and projects like the Beltline and the Downtown Streetcar.  But walking neighborhoods aren’t just for urban Atlanta.  We’ve talked about Dunwoody making strides and the success of town centers/squares in Marietta and Lawrenceville.  Now Woodstock is getting noticed for it’s efforts to create a walkable center for it’s town.  Woodstock’s leaders back in 2002 had some amazing foresight and applied for a grant to change traffic patterns and build bulb outs to aid pedestrians and control automobile traffic in the square.  And it’s worked.  Instead of having a decaying town center Woodstock has been thriving.  And now CNBC has noticed Woodstock’s accomplishments. You can read the fantastic story here.

I have to admit I wasn’t aware of what Woodstock had done.  I’m impressed with city leaders spotting this trend early and doing the things that will help Woodstock succeed for years to come.  Good job!

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 do you develop new property in Manhattan West? Here’s How

Okay so this site is about residential real estate in Atlanta but we love and follow all kinds of real estate issues everywhere.  When we saw this animation we just had to share it. There isn’t exactly an abundance of undeveloped real estate left in Manhattan so if you want to create something new you have to think outside the box.  That’s what Brookfield is doing with their new project in Manhattan West.  The only issue is that they’re going to try to build over some of the busiest train tracks in the country without disrupting traffic.  Easy, right ?  Check out this amazing video.  No wonder this is going to cost more than $4 billion.

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2013/01/instructional-video-day-how-build-skyscrapers-over-moving-trains/4458/