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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Atlanta Real Estate Market Conditons: !st Quarter 2012 Resuts

And the winner is... Outside the Perimeter under $200,000!  If you were a home seller in Atlanta who sold in the first quarter of 2012 and your house was priced under $200,000, you may have actually had a bidding war on your hands from frantic buyers who were knashing their teeth and throwing money around.  19.6% of  total sales under $200,000 sold for more than their asking price.  But then again, if this is your profile, chances are your house was in foreclosure and you didn't give a shrt.

The Atlanta market continues to improve with an increase of 17.1% in total sales in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year.  Sales were up 23.3% compared to 1st quarter of 2010.  Moving in the right direction.  I likey.  Most of these sales came from investors and first time buyers who were gobbling up the unbelievably good deals of homes under $100,000.  You can buy a house in Atlanta cheaper than a lot of cars.  Crazy talk. 

As a result of so many of the sales being so cheap, our median price dropped -9.2% compared to 1st quarter 2011 to $122,000.  Distressed sales made up 42.5% of the total sales in the 1st quarter 2012.  Foreclosures were down, but short sales were up- indicating that the banks are getting tooled up to deal more effectively with short sales and try to do short sales to avoid foreclosures.

Listing inventory is way down.  As a result of low inventory, the market has now shifted from an Extreme Buyers Market to a Seller's Market (for the overall market- but not in every area and every price range).  A balanced market is indicated if there are 6-7 months of inventory.  This means that if no new listings came on the market, it would take 6-7 months to sell all the inventory.   Anything under 6 months of inventory is considered a Seller's Market.  Take a look at the chart below to see which price categories are a Seller's Market and which are still a Buyer's Market.

One of the most interesting facts about the 1st quarter sales is that 16.7% of all sales sold for more than asking price!  The lower the house price, the greater the incidence of selling above asking price occurred, but even in the $500,000-799K price range, 7.5% of sellers got higher than asking price.

Even though the greater metro area has so many distressed properties, that doesn't really indicate what's happening throughout the market.  For example, if you wanted to buy a foreclosure in Buckhead- good luck.  Only 3.8% of sales in Buckhead (area 21) were foreclosures.  And knowing that the median sale price is only $122,000 doesn't carry much weight in Buckhead where the median sale price is $584,125. 

You really have to break it down by neighborhood and price range to know how the market is affecting you.  The overall picture is this.. we've passed the bottom of the market.  The market is improving.  It's still a fantastic time to buy.  There are still fantastic deals out there, but as a buyer, you have to know when a fantastic deal means paying full price (or more) for a house- even in this market.  Information is power.  Rock on.

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