Market Conditions Category

Public vs Private School…a look at the math

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Schools and home values revisited yet again...A couple buying a $300,000 home will have effective monthly housing costs of $1,326. Tack on $912 a month more for private school tuition (the national average, for one kid), and now you’re paying $2,238 for housing and school costs every month — enough to buy a $520,000 home in the same neighborhood. According to a recent analysis by Trulia, parents who think they’re coming out ahead by paying less for a home in a...Read More

Median Home Values Across the North Atlanta Suburbs

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

These charts display median home prices in the northern arc of the Atlanta real estate market broken out by zip code. Providing a consolidated view of all price points, the charts allow for a broad snap shot look at housing prices over the last couple of years. Some markets have a nice steady glide, some a bit more up and down and some are truly chaotic. For the most part, median sale prices are up - but understand that a more detailed look may provide...Read More

The Hardest Places to Live in the US

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The NYTimes provides an interactive national map showing the "hardest" places (counties) to live in the country. Metro Atlanta does OK; Forsyth County does the best with strong showings from Cherokee, Cobb, Fayette and Gwinnett. Georgia and the southeast....well.... From the article: The 10 lowest counties in the country, by this ranking, include a cluster of six in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky (Breathitt, Clay, Jackson, Lee, Leslie and Magoffin), along with four others in various parts of the rural South:...Read More

7 Reasons That You Can’t Find a Home to Buy

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

You can’t find a home and you’re not alone. The housing inventory shortage in Atlanta is genuine and the squeeze in the highly desirable micro markets is a tight one. The reasons vary and the impact is broad and not only affecting buyers, but sellers as well. There are inventory challenges to be sure and issues plaguing buyers and sellers. Like most other things in the world there is a “food chain” impact and it starts at the beginning of...Read More

Headwinds Pushing Institutional Investors Away from Atlanta

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

This was very easy to see coming and something we called long before being interviewed by Realty Trac for their May 2014 article about the Atlanta market. The article addressed the very same concerns that we have been expressing; that the impact of the institutional investors has completely skewed the Atlanta market and that while areas have stabilized, removal of the institutional purchases shows a much different and less robust market. The other significant concern is the impact once the...Read More

FHFA Lowers Lending Standards “to keep liquidity in the real estate market”

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Demonstrating the epic stupidity that legends are made of, the esteemed new head of the FHFA Mel Watt made a few announcements on Tuesday. In short, they are designed to help the banks and expand credit access for “underserved borrowers.” Those folks in the middle...well you know the drill. These announcements reverse those in place under former head of the FHFA Edward J. DeMarco. The FHFA’s new director, Mel Watt, made several announcements Tuesday that  aim to maintain Fannie Mae and Freddie...Read More

East Cobb, Roswell & Alpharetta Show Marked Appreciation since 2011

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

What's old is new; Any national housing reports are nonsense in our opinion, as are reports on cities like Atlanta. It's impossible to call a market with such a large and open pool of data. We however, routinely pull data to see trends at the local level, down to the elementary school or subdivision level. There are pockets in the Metro Atlanta market that have demonstrated resiliency, three of those are East Cobb, Roswell and Alpharetta. We isolated the "upper/second" value...Read More

Home Values in Alpharetta, East Cobb & Roswell Over the Last Year…

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

There seems to be continuous discussion about areas and how they compare to one another. There is of course no"correct" answer as the true answer lies with the buyer; work works best for them. That said, it's interesting to compare areas. Below are very popular areas from East Cobb, Alpharetta and Roswell; specifically zip 30068 in East Cobb, zip 30004 in Alpharetta and zip 30075 in Roswell. Thes graphs reflect median value trend, inventory levels and days on market over the...Read More

New Home Construction Costs up 25%+- Since ’11

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Single-family home construction costs are at the highest levels since 1998; homes are getting larger and more costly. Costs were significantly higher in 2013 when compared to 2011 average construction costs—$246,453 in 2013 versus $184,125 in 2011. While this shouldn't come as a surprise, some potential home buyers may think we're still in the "opportunity" days of the metro Atlanta real estate market; not so. And definitively not so for new construction. Builders have their swagger back and buyers that want...Read More

Buying is 38% Cheaper than Renting – But Risk Remains

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Acoording to Trulia, buying a home costs less than renting in all 100 large U.S. metros. This is always a popular topic and while broad assumptions are made, ultimately there are many variables impacting each situation. Rising mortgage rates and home prices have impacted things just as rising rents have. Trulia's "owner" has a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of 4.5%, put 20% down, itemizes deductions, is in the 25% tax bracket and will be the home 7 years. In that case,...Read More

A Look Back at Buying & Selling Real Estate in 2013

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Here's a great infographic that recaps the 2013 year in real estate. It was a year with a definate turn; the spring rush caught many buyers by surprise - especially after the sharp increase in interest rates. We don't expect the nonsense for 2014 however, our feeling is that buyers will be more pragmatic and take time to assess the market and the opportunities. As far as housing value trends, just have a look at our Atlanta Real Estate Market...Read More

Should Home Buyers Lock in Interest Rates?

Interest rates fluctuate frequently, often depending on the news. If you are considering buying a home or refinancing your home, your loan officer may suggest locking in the interest rate on your loan. There are some valid reasons why this is a good idea including: Saving Money For The Long-term Over the life of a loan, an increase of as little as one-quarter of a percent can cost thousands of extra dollars. Spending a small amount of money now to lock in a...Read More

Keep Reported Price Increases in Atlanta Home Values in Context

Location, location, location. Remember that any time real estate reports are provided. One size reporting does not fit in Atlanta; reports like Case-Shiller and even local MLS data is fine for national and regional audiences but meaningless at the micro market level. Median prices are up over the last year - but how much and why has to be explored. Each area is different; small areas within even the MLS area are different. Looking down to the high school-middle level is a...Read More

FHA Continues to Encourage Failure

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

For the first time in it's 79 year history, FHA will require a $1.7 BILLION dollar bailout. If FHA were held to the same standards as private mortgage insurers, this hole would be $25 BILLON.  One in eight families getting an FHA loan from 1975 to 2011 has already been or will end up in foreclosure. As the bubble developed, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) forced Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and private lenders to adopt, and even go beyond,...Read More

Schools Key to Value & Appeal in Atlanta

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

There is little doubt that schools drive the value bus in Atlanta. The data is quite clear; there is a direct correlation between school district and market value. One only needs to compare similar homes in school districts like Walton and Milton with those in lower rated districts. Over 25 years of real estate we have seen buyers make incredible concessions to get into a school district that they desire. Power lines, busy roads, homes in need of major updating....all...Read More

The Fed Will Continue Their $85B Monthly Bond Buying Spree

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

DC tells us the economy is improving, the deficit is declining and the real estate market continues to hum. So of course the Fed announced that they will continue to buy 85 BILLION A MONTH in bonds to encourage job creation and economic growth. Huh? I’m no economics expert but doesn’t that contradict all the talk about recovery? The NY Times announced the move: The Federal Reserve postponed any retreat from its long-running stimulus campaign Wednesday, saying that it would continue...Read More

Recession? It Was the Housing Bubble Bursting, Stupid

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Sometimes the obvious is just too easy an answer. "We" can quickly deduce why something happens but for reasons unknown, "we" feel compelled to complicate the explanation. The "we" is "they"; politicians, domestic business, international business, banks, Wall Street, the media...all of this brain power and yet there remains vigorous discussion on what led the economy into this deep recession and why it's taking so long to get back on track. Five years after the economic collapse, there remains a...Read More

The 2013 Atlanta Real Estate Market & Looking Ahead

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

To this point, 2013 might be considered one of the most unpredictable and turbulent real estate markets in many years. There is no doubt that this is most fluid market I’ve seen and real estate has been my full time job since 1989. The boom and bust years were easy; there was no doubt about in which direction things were going. This year however, every week has introduced new variables, some expected and many not. The result has been a...Read More

Tighter Mortgage Rules Will Arrive in January 2014

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is further tightening the requirements for mortgages effective Jan 2014. The new lending rules will limit people from taking out a mortgage or refinancing an existing one that puts their overall household borrowing at more than 43 percent of their income. That new debt cap also includes a wide swath of common forms of debt that count toward the total, including student loans, most fees and points related a home purchase, and property taxes. It also...Read More

Luxury Condos in Atlanta Finally Heating Up

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The Atlanta condo market has enjoyed a revival of sorts. In'08, there were 5000 units available; a 9 YEAR inventory. 2013 saw that inventory drop to 500 and a 6 month inventory. Reasons vary and the inventory below 300K is even lower. Not lost in the rally are luxury units, those approaching and exceeding $1M. There have been more luxury condo sales in the first have of 2013 than in all of the last two years. Slowly but surely, the...Read More

Federal Reserve of Atlanta Reviews Our Market

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The Federal Reserve of Atlanta just completed a review of the recovering Atlanta market, a better detailed one than most. Looking at the data down to zip code level produces much more accurate information than the typical Case-Shiller report. The report confirms what those knowledgeable about the micro markets in Atlanta already know. As noted in the report: Using zip code-level data from CoreLogic to take a closer look at home price recovery in Atlanta, we see that this rebound is...Read More

I’m From Washington & I’m Here to Help – Obama Pushing the Mortgage Industry

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Washington continues to push the real estate market...President Barack Obama commented during a speaking tour: "I’m also acting on my own to cut red tape for responsible families who want to get a mortgage, but the bank says no." Knowing the key role that real estate plays in the health of the overall economy, the President continues to use the full power of Washington to do whatever is needed to keep things positive, including pushing banks to approve loans to...Read More

Agents and Appraisers See the Current Market Differently

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The real estate band wagon is playing loudly and the media continues to trumpet the good news about a recovery. Under the hood and on the street, the jubilation is tempered; appraisers seem to be unconvinced that this is a legitimate recovery. When asked, "What is your current level of confidence in the housing market?" 49.6% of respondents answered mild or moderately strong. 14.5% answered mild or moderately weak in the survey. The survey was completed by United States Appraisals' nationwide panel of...Read More

Should a Home Seller Waive the Appraisal Contingency?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

A buyer waiving the appraisal contingency is occasionally seen, but what about waiving it as a seller? Opinionated sellers are out there, but how many are willing to actually put their confidence to the test and sell the home if it appraises for less than the contract price? We’ve touched on the strategy of buyer’s waiving the appraisal contingency in a very competitive market, what happens when the tables are turned? We know as we’ve had this happen. Three times in...Read More

18 Month Market Report for Alpharetta-Cambridge-Milton-Roswell HS Districts

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Here's a detailed look at sales activity in the Alpharetta, Cambridge, Milton and Roswell High School districts over the last 18 months. In the analyzed price range, Roswell is a very strong and very active market with a 62% increase in sales and a ridiculously low median 14 days on market. We focused on homes listed between 400K-600K, with 4-5 bedrooms and we looked back eighteen months. The ability to customize search criteria allows for a highly focused comparison, substantially...Read More

Rising Mortgage Interest Rates Blindside Buyers

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Mortgage interest rates have exploded over the last two weeks and have further confounded Atlanta home buyers. Already squeezed with low inventory, rocketing rates have eroded buying power and scored a bulls eye hit on affordability. Compounding that, underwriting remains combative with appraisal issues still on the radar as prices rise faster than comparable data is developed. Add to the mix, the revised FHA mortgage insurance policy and it's easy to see why many buyers are flustered. Yet and still, the...Read More

Pope, Lassiter or Walton? For 400K-600K Homes Best One is…

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Using our appraisal software, we analyzed data for a specific price range of homes in Lassiter, Pope and Walton High School districts. We focused on those listed between 400K-600K and looked back eighteen months. The ability to customize search criteria allows for a highly focused comparison, substantially more informative than the standard agent review. Walton led with +2.9% increase in median price, Lassiter saw a +35.7% increase in sales and Pope saw a minuscule median marketing time of 16 days. Of...Read More

Buyers Want Large Homes Again

"That house, add the extra bedroom and super-size the family room". The median new-home size in 2012 reached a record high at 2,306 square feet, according to newly released Census Bureau data. Forget the idea that getting smaller was anything more than a function of smaller wallets.  CNNMoney reports that it wasn't that Americans wanted less space, they just couldn't afford more space at the time. Now, they’re up-sizing again. Part of this desire for space likely has to do with...Read More

Banks Approving Fewer Short Sales

The pretense that banks are concerned with distressed homeowners is all but gone, just ask any owner entangled in the short sale process. Despite their caring commercials, the only concern they have is their bottom line. This isn't a new trend, in fact banks have been enjoying the fruits of the bail out for years; foreclosure to them is not a bad option even in poor markets. Mortgage insurance, federal incentives, Fannie Mae (now fed controlled) input to offset carrying...Read More

Blowing Housing Bubbles in Atlanta?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Is there an Atlanta housing bubble developing? Google “housing bubble” and you will see reports both for and against. Here in metro Atlanta, we also have a split decision as several markets are active at levels not seen in years while others remain stagnant. As in the past, those Atlanta real estate markets running hot are those with strong locational appeal and well regarded, high performing schools. There are many factors at play right now that are fueling this market; taken...Read More

Is It Wise to Waive the Appraisal Contingency?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Is it wise to waive the appraisal contingency? Appraisals continues to cause aggita among many in the home buying process, is the answer to eliminate it? Current offers reflect the “now” while appraisals reflect the “then”; an inherent conflict especially in a transitional market. It was easy to see appraisal issues coming - in fact this was noted as a likely problem last fall. Waiving the appraisal contingency is done to present a more streamlined, competitive offer - one that will...Read More

Are Some Home Sellers Overplaying Their Hand?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

“I don’t need to sell”…”I’ll just hold it and wait for the market to improve”…”These aren't comparable”. In a very few short months, home sellers have their swagger back. While many are exploiting favorable market conditions, many others are repeating the sins of the past – ignoring the data. Oddly, the really overconfident sellers tend to be those that have had expired listings; never mind that the home failed to sell at $X, with the rebounding market it’ll now sell...Read More

Obama Pushes Banks to Approve Mortgages to Buyers with Weaker Credit

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

What can possibly be added to this story? The Obama administration is engaged in a broad push to make more home loans available to people with weaker credit, an effort that officials say will help power the economic recovery but that skeptics say could open the door to the risky lending that caused the housing crash in the first place. President Obama’s economic advisers and outside experts say the nation’s much-celebrated housing rebound is leaving too many people behind, including young people...Read More

Corporate Investors Busy at Foreclosure Auctions

Sometimes a video is worth 1000 words - like this WSJ one focused on corporate investors at a recent Gwinnett County foreclosure auction. It's old news by now; Investor Groups Hoarding Homes Under $150K in Atlanta. In some areas, we're seeing investors reaching into the mid to upper 200K range as well. Their impact is directly felt by first time buyers and "mom and pop" traditional investors - those that generally live in the area and personally manage a small...Read More

Atlanta Spring Housing Market Building on ’12 Improvement

The early spring real estate market in Atlanta appears to be building on the stability established in late 2012. Most areas are firmly "seller's markets" right now and most buyers are adjusting to that. Investors continue to have a significant impact on this market and many Atlanta home buyers find themselves competing with them either directly or indirectly. The current market rewards Atlanta home buyers that are well educated in the process, well prepared and have a definition of success. ABC...Read More

FHA Raising Fees, Time to Consider a $65B Hole

FHA is estimated to be 46-65 billion dollars undercapitalized so increases in FHA mortgage insurance premiums and new, tougher underwriting standards will begin April 1st. Beginning then, it will cost new borrowers significantly more than refinancing borrowers who have had an FHA loan four years or longer. Tougher standards now, after digging a 46-65 billion dollar hole? Currently, 40% of FHA loans are considered subprime; is that going to change? Maybe Washington should just mint that trillion dollar coin and make everything...Read More

Atlanta Housing Market – 2012 in Review

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The Atlanta real estate market has largely shifted from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market; the advantage maintained for so long by buyers appears to have disappeared. Data is pretty clear that the “bottom” of the Atlanta market occurred around the January 2010 time frame. Recall that the government incentivized home purchases from the later part of ’09 through about mid ’10. The climb out since has been volatile but the data shows that the low points since January...Read More

About Half of Atlanta Homeowners Underwater – Not All Headed to Foreclosure

Half of all Metro Atlanta homeowners were underwater in their mortgages by the end of 2012, according to Zillow’s fourth-quarter negative equity report. This does not mean that every one of of these owners is headed to foreclosure, only that they presently owe more than the value of their home. The report also noted 49,827 metro Atlanta homeowners were freed from negative equity -- owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth -- in 2012, echoing a national...Read More

Is FNMA Forcing Owners into Foreclosure or Helping Expedite Short Sales?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

So is FNMA helping or hurting distressed homeowners? Depends who you ask. "FNMA accused of forcing underwater borrowers into foreclosure" wrote one publication while another wrote "FNMA will directly approve short sales". The angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. From AGBeat: Over the last few months, there has been quite a bit of Internet squawking about the GSEs approach to short sales and foreclosures, particularly Fannie Mae (who seems to rule the roost). Allegations are being made...Read More

Investor Groups Hoarding Homes Under $150K in Atlanta

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

As the Atlanta spring real estate market begins to heat up, many buyers of homes under 150K are discovering an alarming trend; a significant lack of inventory. What inventory that is available is presenting additional surprises; very short marketing times, multiple offers and often list or above list price contracts. The culprit is the same as in many other parts of the country hard hit by foreclosures – major investment operations sitting down at the buffet that is the distressed...Read More

Challenge That Poor BPO, Don’t Loose the Short Sale!

There is yet another growing hurdle with short sales in the Atlanta real estate market; valuation problems with BPOs – specifically BPO’s higher than contract price that can sour the deal. The reason for the BPO is clear; banks do not want to leave money on the table. The result is also clear; many short sales are being delayed, renegotiated or cancelled as BPOs come in higher than contract price. Understandable that banks want to check values, but why do it on the cheap...Read More

Atlanta #2 for Household Growth Over Next 5 Years

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Atlanta saw tremendous growth from 2000-2010, the growth patterns spread in all directions as there are no natural boundaries here. Coming out of the funk, Atlanta is again poised for a renewed growth spurt according to research completed by Pitney Bowes. Atlanta is right behind Houston for expected household growth between 2012-2017 and builders are taking notice. As reported in the WSJ: Houston and Atlanta lead the list from both 2000 to 2010 and are expected to top it again for 2012...Read More

Unsafe Streets Stifle Housing Rebound in Atlanta

Finally we see an article that accurately portrays what is going on in many Atlanta communities and the impact that abandoned homes and vandalism continues to have. Also explored is the "new" fraud; squatter's rights. Flipping through the use of straw buyers never goes out of style; and like roaches altering their DNA to meet a new environment, scammers and miscreants in Atlanta change as conditions mandate. LaShawn Hoffman’s nonprofit in southwest Atlanta can renovate a vacant home for a new buyer in...Read More

Looking Ahead to the Spring Atlanta Housing Market…and Challenges Expected

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Much anticipation surrounds the spring ’13 real estate market; will the “improvements” seen over the last year carry forward? Nationwide data suggests the bottom may have been reached but we think there are seven distinct hurdles to be cleared before saying the housing market has corrected. We expect that in many parts of metro Atlanta, the spring market will be a strong one in terms of buyer activity - how that translates to closings remains to be seen. We anticipate significant challenges; appraisals...Read More

1 in 5 Say It’s a Good Time to Sell, but Most Overestimate Value

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

1 in 5 homeowners say it's a good time to sell and 77 percent of sellers say their home is worth more than their real estate agents’ recommended selling price. Some home owners are overestimating the value of their home by up to 20 percent. Nearly 40 percent of real estate agents surveyed by HomeGain say that home owners believe their home is 10 to 20 percent higher than it really is, with another 40 percent reporting overestimates of 1 to 9...Read More

Interactive Map Shows the Viral Spread of Foreclosures

Housing is finally showing a blip on the heart monitor after years of devastation, but this map is a harsh reminder that the sector still has a long way to go before a full recovery. As the housing economy continues to struggle, there are small signs of health emerging, which CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, Mark Fleming aptly called housing “finding its footing,” in a report released today indicating that foreclosures have slowed for the fourth consecutive month, yet remain below the...Read More

The Trillion Dollar Housing Roller Coaster

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The analogy between real estate and roller coasters is obvious. Everyone knows they both have crazy ups and downs. With the U.S. real estate ride lately, we are all wishing we were riding on the kiddie roller coaster with the small bumps and turns. Unfortunately, it’s more likely we are riding on the Kingda Ka roller coaster with its record-breaking 418-foot drop. The team brings you breaking real estate news weekly, and we’ve noticed a trend – real estate...Read More

Genuine “Housing Recovery” or Washington Hijinx?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

There are many economists and those in the real estate industry that are not convinced of a housing recovery, let alone a broad economic recovery...just before the election things turn? Here in the Atlanta area, it's not uncommon for homebuyers to find themselves in multiple bid situations, paying over list price or simply be unable to find a satisfactory home to buy. The question that begs to be asked (and answered); is the market recovering or is this trend government induced? Questions remain...Read More

What Home Sellers Should Expect in Atlanta – 4th Qtr ’12

Inquiries concerning the future of the Atlanta real estate market continue to pour in. While no one knows what to expect, we have a few measured expectations for the last qtr of ‘12 – note the omission of the word predictions. Several micro markets in Atlanta are finding balance, sellers and potential sellers are beginning to file their claws. There seems to be a marked increase in seller confidence – often unsupported. We’ve talked with many that are trying to push pricing and...Read More

Rent or Buy? Trulia and CNNMoney say in Atlanta, BUY

Trulia and CNNMoney are calling Atlanta a "Buy" before "Rent" market. This is based upon a review of data from their sources as well as Zillow. Trulia and CNNMoney are not the only publications endorsing this, Forbes, the WSJ and USA Today have come to same conclusion about Atlanta. Trulia concluded that owning a home in Atlanta is 57% cheaper than renting: In the other 96 of the 100 largest metros, though, buying is still cheaper than renting. In Atlanta, for instance, where buying...Read More

Investors Pushing Up Home Prices in Atlanta

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The "investor" frenzy continues in Atlanta as the number of people looking to "invest" swells; so does their frustration...and the frustration of folks looking for a home to buy and live in. The continued bashing of the Atlanta real estate market and the consistently high level of foreclosures has brought national attention, and professional investors looking to feed. Like sharks on a bloated whale carcass they take big chunks and the rookie investors are left to fight over the scraps. And unlike the...Read More

Foreclosure and Bargain No Longer Synonymous

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The glut is over and, so it seems, the foreclosure bargain bonanza. Nationally, foreclosure sales prices rose 6 percent in the second quarter and were up 7 percent year-over-year, RealtyTrac reported this week. This marks the largest annual increase in foreclosure-related sales prices since 2006. During the second quarter, the average foreclosure-related sales price was $170,040. Still, foreclosure and bank-owned homes sold at an average price that was 32 percent lower than the average price of a non-foreclosure home, RealtyTrac...Read More

Marketing Times for Homes in Atlanta – 2nd Qtr ’12

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

By all accounts it appears that the Atlanta housing market is slowly, at glacial speed in some areas, recovering. Recovering as in a traditional market, not the nonsense noted during the boom. The number of sales have increased overall, substantially in many areas. Sale to list ratios are also up in almost all areas and the days on market are down, 80 days overall and under 70 in many. An important note however is the impact of low priced homes; Atlanta is a...Read More

Impact of Distressed Sales – Atlanta 2nd Qtr ’12

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The impact of "distressed" inventory has been felt both nationally and in the Atlanta real estate market for several years. Atlanta has been and continues to be a top national hot spot for foreclosure problems; Atlanta's fraud, foreclosure and distressed real estate situation has been well documented. However, it's also somewhat concentrated. The charts below are courtesy of Chartmasters and they illustrate months of supply, percentage of short sales and percentage of foreclosures (2nd qtr '12 only). Key points: Months of Supply is greatest...Read More

Home Price Changes in Atlanta – 2nd Qtr ’12

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Our fingertips are heavily calloused as every time Case-Shiller drops a bomb on Atlanta real estate we rush to remind everyone that the data needs to be kept in context. Atlanta is far too large and far too economically diverse to be considered as "one" market. Several micro markets have been stable for several months, others have found stability over the last few. The impact of REO and distressed homes has impacted the stats; investors and first time buyers have been...Read More

The Debt Dance and Homeownership

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

As the housing industry continues the slow climb from the abyss, data tends to show that the current rate of homeownership remains low as compared to historical rates. One report has it at the lowest in 50 years and several studies indicate that the homeownership rate among adults younger than 35 fell by 12 percent between ’06 and ’11. The real estate research firm John Burns Real Estate claims the true homeownership rate is 62.1%, with that number including all borrowers...Read More

About 47% of FNMA Inventory Unlisted – The Next Shoe to Drop?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The concept of "shadow inventory" remains mysterious as the definition varies - but in short it reflects homes waiting to be listed for sale. It is also the other shoe waiting to drop. A potentially very large shoe...Shaq sized shoe. Fannie Mae is the largest player in this arena, and it's long been contended that there is a significant back log of homes just sitting. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are being accused by some housing analysts as purposely keeping some foreclosures...Read More

Sell Your Home in 21 Days for 98% of List Price

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

As parts of the Atlanta real estate market find stability, we’re seeing the shift from buyer’s market to neutral or even a slight seller’s market. As the 2nd Qtr stats show, inventory is down, sales are up and in a few areas, and values are starting to move into positive territory. We’re seeing another familiar trend, sellers overpricing their homes as they look to capitalize on the positive news.  A recent Inman News article hit familiar themes: in 2nd qtr '12...Read More

Atlanta Real Estate Improves in 2nd Qtr ’12

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

So we present some rather positive news about the Atlanta real estate market. Just as we do with the negative reports, we warn you to keep this in perspective; one quarter or half does not constitute an end to the real estate tar pit. Like many other areas of the country, Atlanta home prices can stay down only for so long, everything is cyclical so here's hoping that this is a consistent upward swing. As always, Chartmasters has completed an awesome review of the...Read More

Is the Housing Bust Over?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

There is no definitive answer to that question, especially in the Atlanta real estate market. Nationally, a new Wall Street Journal survey of forecasters found 44 believe the housing market has reached its bottom; only three don't. Data for Atlanta shows that we appear to have statistically bottomed out in Jan 2010 ; statistically being the operative word. This is in fact a protracted bottom and both Atlanta and the nation have been dragging along it for a while. But...Read More

No Help for Responsible Underwater Owners?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The traction that some parts of the real estate market seem to be gaining is precarious at best. There are many moving parts to any recovery and this one is especially complicated given local, national and global influences. There’s an indisputable requirement for any market; upward mobility. Much of the traction right now is in the first time buyer market; key to releasing the move up buyer. And that’s where a major obstacle is found. As noted in a recent...Read More

Some Atlanta Home Sellers Finding Plenty of Buyers

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Are you a reasonable home seller? In some metro Atlanta real estate markets, supply and demand has reached equilibrium and in some cases, a seller’s market. As noted in a previous post, many Atlanta home buyers are finding that the news headlines bear no resemblance to the real world. Many micro markets, mainly north from Atlanta between I-75 and I-85 and up the 400 corridor are bucking the bloody national reputation Atlanta real estate presently carries; homes are selling at or near...Read More

Where Are the Great Home Buying Opportunities in Atlanta?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The buyer's market is over in many desirable metro Atlanta areas Where are the great home buying opportunities in Atlanta? Well, in most cases they’re where few folks want to be. Despite the continued blood bath media reports about the Atlanta housing market, many Atlanta home buyers are having a difficult time hitting the perfect trifecta; a quality home, in a stable area bought at a “value” price. In some areas, home buyers need to adjust expectations to fit current market conditions; the buyer’s...Read More

Case-Shiller Reports Value INCREASE in Atlanta!

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

A dose of good national news about the Atlanta housing market is always welcome, especially since it comes from arguably the biggest flame thrower in the housing industry, Case-Shiller. They are reporting that Metro Atlanta home prices broke an eight month slide in April, moving up about 1 percent. The last positive move was in July ’11 and while the spring season tends to be the most robust, the last several years have not been kind. This spring the market...Read More

Atlanta #9 Market for 1st Time Buyers

The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta market was noted by Inman News as the ninth best for first time buyers. This is a bit of welcome national news for the Atlanta market as the area has been pummeled for years now due to the lagging recovery. Like a healthy food chain, everything starts at the beginning and markets don't grow without those critical first time buyers. 1st time buyers are the base of any recovery. The Atlanta metro area's median sales price peaked in  third-quarter 2006...Read More

Case-Shiller Misses the Mark On Atlanta Real Estate

Here we go again; Case-Shiller has dropped another double digit value decline bombshell on Atlanta homeowners. By now, we’re either numb to pounding or we’re wiser and understand how the stats are derived and what they don’t mean. They report  that values have dropped 17.7 percent from March ’11 to March ’12, 2.5 percent from 1/12 to 3/12 and .09 percent from 2/12 to 3/12. According to Case-Shiller, we are among five major cities to hit new post-recession lows for home...Read More

Underwater Mortgages in Atlanta – Behind the Headline

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Another week, another report about problems in the Atlanta real estate market. This one courtesy of Zillow and the “must read” headline is that half of Atlanta mortgages are underwater. As always, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes and get past the headline. While not entirely healthy, things are getting better. From the AJC and Zillow’s chief economist Stan Humphries: More than half of homeowners with a mortgage in metro Atlanta owe more than the house is worth, a...Read More

Atlanta Home Values 1st Qtr 2012

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

A review of Atlanta housing trends from 1st quarter ’11 to 1st quarter ’12 shows that parts of three counties in the greater Atlanta real estate market saw the largest percentage increase in home sales.  Inventory continues to drop all over, however the percentage of distressed sales (short sales and foreclosures) remains over 50% in 12 of the 41 MLS areas and over 40% in another 7 areas considered “metro Atlanta”. In an area of Gwinnett County, distressed inventory is...Read More

The Impact of Distressed Homes on Atlanta Real Estate

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

With 42.5% of all Atlanta home sales in the 1st qtr of '12 distressed, the impact of distressed homes on the greater Atlanta housing market is a significant one. They are present in force and their impact influences every aspect of the Atlanta real estate market, they are expected to be around for the foreseeable future. The metro Atlanta real estate market appears to have bottomed in Jan '10. The charts below illustrate just how significant an impact distressed homes have on...Read More

Selling a Home in Atlanta – Spring ’12 News

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Conventional listings have many advantages over distressed listings however unless accurately priced, buyers are unlikely to pay attention. A review of the 1st qtr ’12 stats shows interesting developments in the Atlanta real estate market that home sellers need to be aware of. A combination of factors seems to be acting in unison, specifically impacting distressed properties. The low rates along with rising rents have brought fence sitters into the market, large and small investors have returned and REO asset managers...Read More

Is it Time to Buy a Home in Atlanta?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

I think it’s time to consider buying a home in the Atlanta area. I don’t say that as a shill for any real estate organization; I say that as an appraiser, broker and student of this industry for over twenty years. The data, coupled with rates that have been ridiculously low for so long combined with the prevailing expectation by most economic “experts” that rates will/have to rise after the election make now the time to legitimately consider a home purchase....Read More

Home prices stabilizing. So what’s wrong with Atlanta?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

"Some of America's most closely watched housing numbers are starting to suggest that the big decline in housing is coming to an end, at least in some metros. Home prices in Seattle, Minneapolis, and Denver have begun to trend upward in the past few months, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller housing indices. Even hard-hit metro areas such as Tampa, Fla., and Phoenix have seen a modest rebound. But in Atlanta home prices not only continue to fall, the declines are accelerating....Read More

Federal Forclosure Inventory Down – But New Foreclosue Wave Inbound

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

This is a good news - bad news post. The amount of government foreclosure inventory was cut about in half in 2011 but repossessions are expected to jump up in 2012 to pre-robo signing levels. Georgia remains in the top tier nationally for distressed inventory, driven hard by Atlanta foreclosures and underwater homeowners. The latest round of federal assistance isn't expected to do much to stop the bleeding and the recent foreclosure bank settlement was nothing short of criminal, those lenders were really...Read More

Atlanta Real Estate Data – 4th Qtr ’11 Review

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Over the last year, two sub markets in the City of Atlanta saw median home values increase over 10% and NE Cherokee County sales increased by 121.7%. Last quarter, Sandy Springs (inside 285) sat with the highest home inventory at 13.8 months (twice as much as many areas) and saw only 35.5% of listings sell, Eastern Gwinnett County led the region with 63.1% of all sales noted as distressed. Many surprises in the data, some with clear explanations, others result in...Read More

Loans Still Due Despite Foreclosure – Deficiency Judgments

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Sweating out a distressed sale or foreclosure may not absolve an owner from the long arm of those due money. Banks can employ what is called a deficiency judgment (the difference between the outstanding mortgage balance and the sale price) to collect the debt, requiring a defaulting borrower to pay the balance of a loan and any fees, minus what the bank recovers when it sells the home. In a worst-case scenario for borrowers, banks could garnishee wages to pay...Read More

Buyers Rapidly Losing Interest in Foreclosures

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

It took a while but it seems that home buyers are finally beginning to tire of the real estate owned (REO)/foreclosure nonsense. Here in Atlanta, lender or “corporate” owned (the industry desired more appealing term than foreclosure) homes are a major part of the inventory. Statistics on this issue can vary widely but suffice it to say that REO's and short sale properties will continue to impact metro Atlanta for years. Investors and speculators make up the majority of distressed...Read More

Atlanta Tops in National REO Inventory, Georgia #3

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

On Wednesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency began taking investor applications to participate in their new bulk REO program. The agency is finally deciding who has the financial wherewithal to manage these properties and rent them out. Well that's been tried in the past and the results? uh...not good. So where exactly are these REO homes? Look around because metro Atlanta has the highest number of any national metro area and Georgia is in the top 3 states. has been...Read More

Atlanta Home Values are…a Mess

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Atlanta can finally raise a championship banner, and it's one no one wants. But toss the challenge flag because the devil is in the data reviewed. In November, prices of single-family homes were down close to 12 percent compared with a year earlier, the largest decline among major metropolitan areas, according to data released on Tuesday in the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Home prices regionally are now below their levels of 2000, making Atlanta one of only four...Read More

Home Values in High School Districts

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Real estate in Atlanta is heavily influenced by schools; in many cases the academic track record of a high school dictates appeal and marketability of an area. Using RealValuator, we can now provide clients the real estate market trends for any metro Atlanta high school district. This snapshot will show the general trends by quarter and can be configured to show different price points. Here's an example of the chart showing home prices in Milton high school. This program can also...Read More

Homeownership Survey – Please Help

  Please answer these 6 short questions about homeownership. Your comments are always welcome...    Read More

Spilling Tears Over Bad Appraisals – Stop Already

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Can the real estate industry please stop spilling tears over bad appraisals - stop already! Katie Cosner of AGBeat posted a well done article about "bad appraisals", hitting the very same things I've been hammering for years. The disconnect between agents and appraisers (and now builders as well) inexplicably remains. To be sure, variables exist with any appraisal and they are subjective to a point - but one thing really is central to every appraisal - COMPARABLE DATA. If agents,...Read More

Atlanta Home Values & Sale to List Ratios – 3rd Qtr 2011

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Interesting results when the 3rd quarter 2011 Atlanta homes sales data is reviewed. Chartmasters gives us a look at current Atlanta real estate trends, most noteworthy is that 65% of homes sold in Metro Atlanta (viewed overall) were below $200,000. Keep current by clicking on Atlanta Real Estate Market Conditions and sign up below for free weekly Altos Market Data reports for over 100 Atlanta zip codes. Make certain to review the post Influence of Distressed Sales in Atlanta - 3rd...Read More

Influence of Distressed Sales in Atlanta – 3rd Qtr ’11

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Overall, Metro Atlanta home prices continue to slip. There are areas of stability, mainly certain zip codes, micro markets and school districts (parts of Roswell, Alpharetta, East Cobb are stabilizing...) but most metro markets remain in the funk. The influence of distressed sales is clear; short sales and foreclosures combined to account for 39.4% of all 3rd Qtr '11 sales in the greater Atlanta market. Several telling charts are below... Chartmasters completed their 3rd Quarter '11 review based upon FMLS data....Read More

Buyers Over Optimistic on Home Value Appreciation

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

"More than 42% of prospective homebuyers polled by Zillow believe home values will appreciate by 7% annually in the years ahead." Seriously? Apparently so...this according to the recently conducted poll of 177 people who said they were planning to buy a home within the next three years. "It's troubling that we're still in the midst of one of the worst housing recessions in history, and yet prospective buyers continue to have such high expectations for home value appreciation," said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow....Read More

Obama, the Homeowner’s Helper or Enabler?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

At this time, we're in the process of trying to understand the objectives of Washington's latest plan to get the economy cranking again. This one centers on relaxing the refinance requirements for struggling homeowners in an attempt to reduce the number of pending foreclosures. The ultimate goal? Stabilize the real estate market and free up money for consumer spending; apparently the course out of this economic funk is via increased consumer spending. From the NY Times article: Republicans, including the presidential...Read More

A Graphic Look at Mortgage Rates

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words...we're all used to hearing about  "historically low rates" but what does that mean to a generation of folks that don't really understand where rates were in the past? Even for folks that have been around, have past rates been completely forgotten about? Here are two charts that drive home what "historically low rates" mean - obviously rates fluctuate based upon about a billion influencing factors so get your credit in order and...Read More

Atlanta Home Sales Up, Values Slide

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

A good news - bad news post. Homes sales in metro Atlanta were up about 25% from the same month last year, that's above the national average of about a 15% increase. Remember though, the government incentives intended to jump start things in '10 were ending about this time last year. Regardless, any positive move is very welcomed! The "but" centers around the median sale price for the Atlanta market - $94,000 which is down from the last year at this...Read More

It’s Time to Buy That House

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Those of you that have worked with me or read my posts over the years know I'm not a mouthpiece for the real estate community; I don't march in lockstep with what the various real estate industries put out. I don't think everyone should own a home; I don't (and never did) think a home should be regarded as a significant investment vehicle - a piece rather than the main vehicle; I don't think you should ever be house poor...Read More

How to Stop the Drop in Home Values

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The challenges facing this economy are diverse, complicated and enduring. Over the last several years and two administrations, the bleeding has continued unabated. Despite billions of dollars tossed at the problem, schemes to increase employment and opinions from economic experts on how to dig out, the country remains mired in the economic mud. A critical component integral to any recovery: HOUSING. It seems that if the housing dilemma can be solved or at least demonstrated to be under control, then the...Read More

Fewer Atlanta Home Listings, More Frustrated Buyers

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Historically low rates, a constant drum beat to buy a home and infomercials 'til the cows come home on why now is the time to what's missing? Well one of the main ingredients - homes to select from. Right now, I personally have several buyers locked and loaded ready to take advantage of the great rates and opportunities that this market should present, but several have been waiting for months as no "decent" listings are entering the market. They're...Read More

Stability? Increasing Values? A Lucky Few Areas…

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

As many readers of this or other blogs I write for know, I can spend a bit too much time on the negative aspects of this market. That's probably due to starting my career in the appraisal business - and being consistently at odds with the sales industry and the nonsensical "puffery" that they constantly spew. Agents have a habit of either disregarding or spinning any data that's contrary to the talking points...this agent doesn't. After the blood bath of the...Read More

Decoding the Wide Variations in House Appraisals

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Real estate appraisals continue to be a major hurdle in this market. This NY Times article relates a situation that many buyers, sellers and owners have; the wide variation in getting what is considered a "fair or reasonable" appraisal. I recently decided to refinance a condominium my wife and I owned in Florida and quickly got caught up in the frustrating and often baffling world of real estate appraisals. The appraisal for the condo initially came in at exactly the dollar amount...Read More

Her Bank Got Enough Help When It Was in Trouble. She Didn’t.

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

"Mimi Pierre Johnson and her husband bought their four-bedroom home in Elmont, on Long Island, for $413,000 in 2005. Then the recession blew in. Her husband lost his construction job, her real estate work slowed and their boiler wheezed and died. Their once-reasonable mortgage resembled a forbidding mountain. She dialed her bank, JPMorgan Chase, seeking a lifeline. The bank gave her a temporary modification, but then canceled it. It lost her documents. It did not return her calls. Late fees...Read More

Help the Housing Market – Increase Foreclosures!

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

It's refreshing to see an article in CNN Money reiterating what many of us in the real estate industry have known for years; that the foreclosure abatement process is simply delaying the inevitable. Many of the homes in the foreclosure process will never be recovered, it's much better to foreclose and get on with the next step which is genuinely trying to sell the inventory, stop the value damage being done to areas by these homes and stabilize the...Read More

Fed Sponsored Refi’s – Spend, Don’t Save the Difference!

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

As the economy continues to free fall like a stone approaching terminal velocity, the administration continues to try and pop 'chutes to slow the decent. It's no secret that real estate is a vital cog in any recovery, arguably the most vital as it impacts both personal and commercial/industrial wallets. Distressed home inventory remains high and most experts don't see any major improvement until the economy as a whole gains a foot hold. People worried about their jobs don't spend...Read More

Home Sweet 78 Square Foot Home

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Here's a look at the polar opposite of the sprawling McMansion fever many areas experienced. This apartment in NYC is smaller than most master closets, much smaller than a one car garage and probably on par with a standard utility room. 32 of these apartments could fit into a 2500 square foot home - this can be an awesome way to raise a few bucks subdividing that empty room.... Read More

Chicago to Charge Banks for Upkeep on Vacant Homes

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Chicago passed a city ordinance that will make lenders pay for the upkeep and maintenance of properties they do not own. The City's position is that the lenders have an "interest" in the property and that is enough. This change means that the mortgagees will have to cut the grass, shovel the snow, trim hedges and remove the garbage and the occasional graffiti. They will also be responsible for handling any complaints and disputes from the public. Mayor Emanuel applauded...Read More

New-Home Sales Fall, 2011 Could be Worst Year Yet

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

No real shocking news here, the AP reports that new homes sales continue to tank... WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new homes fell for the third straight month in July, a sign that housing remains a drag on the economy. If the current pace continues, 2011 would be the worst year for new-home sales in nearly half a century. Sales fell nearly 1 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That's less...Read More

Appraisal Problems? Thank Washington’s Micromanagment

Once again appraisers are in the cross hairs, the incessant screaming is that we're "killing deals" and hampering any real estate recovery chatter is heating up. Low appraisals, incorrect appraisals or appraisers not being familiar with the area in which they work are the topics of conversation around the real estate water coolers. Most of it is total nonsense for several reasons: Appraiser fees have been significantly cut while requirements have increased. Now more than ever to make a living they...Read More

White Picket Fence? Nope. More Calls to End the Mortgage Deduction

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Once again, the cries to end the mortgage interest deduction for homeowner's are banging around the halls of the capital. As usual, this latest dust up has more to do with social engineering and class warfare than logic. Is the goal really to have a society where everything is entirely equitable? I've been around a few years now and am quite pleased with how things have worked out. Looking back of course there were things that I could have put...Read More