These days, we’re absolutely bombarded with economic news in the media. The state of the housing market is often in the headlines with various measures and indices quoted; the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, in particular, is one of the more frequently touted measures.
The press can spin the results of any index depending on the “story” they want to tell. The most recent results provide the same opportunity: If you want a negative outlook, home prices are down 5% in the Atlanta area over the past year. If you want an optimistic outlook, home prices have risen for the past four months, with the increase in July over June 0.2%. Both statements are true, but one suggests a continual downward trend and the other implies we’ve hit a bottom and are experiencing some measure of stability.
The macro numbers are always hard to apply to a city the size of Atlanta. Our research indicates the core in-town markets bottomed out 6 to12 months ago and are currently rising at a slow pace. Similar trends can be seen in some of the best school districts in the suburban counties. Also, in the past month, we’ve heard from many local real estate agents who tell us they can’t find the properties their clients want in several sub-markets including Virginia Highlands, Ormewood Park and Brookhaven. These are the dynamics required for price appreciation.
On the national level, the Case-Shiller index reported that only two of the twenty metro areas tracked by the Case-Shiller 20-City Composite saw month-to-month price declines: Las Vegas (-0.2 percent) and Phoenix (-0.1 percent). The index showed prices in Las Vegas down 59.3 percent from their August 2006 peak, hitting a new low. Looking back a year, 18 out of 20 metro areas saw annual price declines, with the price index for Minneapolis falling 9.1 percent, Phoenix down 8.8 percent, and Portland, Oregon, dropping 8.4 percent. Detroit and Washington D.C. were the only cities to post annual gains (1.2 percent and 0.3 percent respectively) in July, leaving the 20-City Composite down 4.1 percent.
A few things are certain today: There’s a limited amount of in-town land. Gasoline will not get significantly cheaper in the near-term. Most folks are willing to spend more dollars for housing to shorten their commute. And interest rates are at an all-time low. If you want a high quality home at an affordable price in Atlanta today, call Jim LaVallee at 404-847-9080 or email Jim@EpicDevelopment.com. Visit EpicDevelopment.com for more information.
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