Atlanta fall

4 Tips to Prepare for the Fall Selling Season

Residential real estate sales can slow down during the fall as buyers start to pull back, which reduces competition. Likewise, sellers are oftentimes worn out from the hectic summer selling season and are less aggressive.  If you’re selling in the fall, you can use the slowdown to your advantage.

By putting in some extra effort, you can use the slower season to help attract good buyers and get maximum value for your home.  Continue reading

Midtown

Insiders Guide to Midtown Atlanta

If you’ve made your way through Midtown Atlanta recently, you can’t help but notice that new construction is booming!  With all the new residential real estate, shops, restaurants, and endless events, it’s an exciting time to live in or visit Midtown.

With that being said, there are a lot of hidden gems in Midtown for dining out, self care and entertainment.  In this post, I’ll highlight some of these insider spots as well as point out some of the upcoming places to keep on your radar.

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Home curb appeal

Top 4 Tips To Add Curb Appeal Value To Your Home

It’s no secret that curb appeal can improve home value. After all, often times the front of your home is the buyers first impression. It can serve as an effective way to get buyers to consider your home. In fact, according to the famous home improvement specialist, Bob Vila, good landscaping and exterior improvements can add up to an estimated 20% increase in the value of your home.

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Q1 2019 Market Update

Q1 2019 Real Estate Market Update

We are officially into the spring season, which means the start of the buying and selling season for residential real estate.  

As such, I want to provide a national and local market update for all those looking at buying and selling opportunities this spring.

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Spring Homebuyer’s Guide

Spring is right around the corner and so is the start of the season for buying property.

If you are in the market for a new home, now is the time to get prepared.

With housing inventory still low, I expect that we will have a competitive market this spring, so being prepared can make the difference in getting the property you want this spring.

In the following post, I’ve outlined five guiding tips to prepare you to buy this spring. Continue reading

How To Spot Up And Coming Neighborhoods

How To Spot Up And Coming Neighborhoods

I often get asked about where the next “hot” neighborhood is in Atlanta and while I can’t predict the future, I can share with you how I assess up and coming neighborhoods to determine if they have strong investment potential.

When assessing Intown neighborhoods I have four criteria that I look for; grocery/dining, construction, architecture, assessability

Grocery and Dining

First I determine if any new and trendy local restaurants and coffee shops are opening up in the neighborhood.  Then I look for chains such as specialty grocers like Whole Foods or a Starbucks. If I find higher-end dining and grocery then I know that these places will attract middle to upper-class households. Therefore I can speculate that eventually these businesses will begin attracting people to live in the vicinity.  In fact, according to Zillow, between 1997 and 2013, homes closer to Starbucks coffee shops increased in value by 96%, compared to 65% for all U.S. homes. That’s 31% more than that of all U.S. homes!

Construction

When I drive around looking at real estate opportunities, I am always looking out for new residential or commercial developments taking place.  If I see a more than normal amount of construction activity, it’s worth taking a trip to the city permit office for additional research. You can be sure that if developers are building then they believe that there’s a growth opportunity.  However, you want to ensure you understand what’s being built, for example, trendy condos vs. low-income housing.

Architecture

This is an interesting and often-overlooked assessment.  If there is unique architecture in the area then that lends to trendy and unique renovations.  Consider that some of the hottest real estate markets, like San Francisco, New York, and Boston all have amazing historical architecture.  Historical residential architecture generally attracts higher-end buyers looking for unique home buying opportunities. Purchasing unique, historical architecture is like buying a piece of art,  it’s exciting knowing that you have a one of a kind piece of history.

Accessibility

Lastly, I’ll evaluate the neighborhood’s proximity to major highways and public transportation.  Ease of accessibility is becoming more and more important to buyers as they look to reduce commute and car time.  According to US News, residential property values performed 42% better on average if they were located within a half-mile of public transportation. Additionally, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors was quoted as saying “When consumers choose a home, they also choose a lifestyle. Shorter commutes and more walkable neighborhoods matter to a growing number of people, especially those living in congested metro areas.”

As a last step in my evaluation process, after I’ve checked off the above criteria, I start looking at value indicator metrics such as sales price trends and how long homes stay on the market before they’re sold.

Here are my top picks for neighborhoods that meet these criteria in Atlanta:

Downtown

Downtown Atlanta

I consider Downtown a massive up and comer in Atlanta where you can find very good value for property Intown. Downtown has a lot of exciting developments happening and it meets all of my criteria listed above.  You can learn more about downtown opportunities from the post I wrote about downtown last year.

Cabbagetown

Cabbagetown Atlanta

Cabbagetown continues to sit on my radar as an up and comer, especially as they extend the Eastside trail to run directly into the neighborhood giving it premium accessibility to everything the beltline has to offer.

Kirkwood

Kirkwood Atlanta

Kirkwood is another neighborhood that’s been on my radar.  Its like it’s own little small town within the heart of Atlanta. It has a fun historic downtown area, unique Victorian style homes, and cozy craftsman style bungalows.

I invite you to use some of these criteria as you evaluate your next home or investment opportunity. As always, I can be of assistance in evaluating neighborhoods in Atlanta then please contact me here.

2019 Real Estate Overview

2019 Real Estate Market Overview

2018 was a competitive year for the residential real estate market both nationally and locally, as median values of residential real estate rose throughout the year and inventory remained relatively low. With increasing mortgage rates, real estate values and low inventory, it was a seller’s market, with many buyers getting priced out of the market, especially first-time buyers.

In the post below, I’ll review what I expect in the 2019 residential real estate market for buyers, sellers and the local Atlanta market. I believe there will be some economic uncertainty that will affect the market, because of this, it is even more important to know where the opportunities are in the Atlanta market as well as how the opportunities should be valued.

So what’s in store for 2019?  

Buyers

Last year was an extremely competitive one for buyers, who were paying premiums in bidding wars for properties. I expect this trend to continue in 2019 but the competition over properties will cool. Rising interest rates and prices will ease the competition, giving slight favor back to buyers.  However, the rising rates will test buyers mortgage budgets.

According to Zillow research, 30 yr fixed rate mortgages are forecasted to rise to 5.8% which will affect budgets by increasing monthly mortgage payments.  This increase could price many first time buyers out of the market, thus reducing buying competition. Likewise, Zillow predicts that while home value growth will continue, it’s expected to cool from its highs, which will be favorable for buyers.  All that said, I still expect inventory levels to remain flat to slightly up, holding back a buyer’s market.

Sellers

Sellers will maintain the advantage in 2019, however, they will also feel the effects of rising mortgage rates as there will be fewer buyers competing for their properties.  So in 2019 sellers will lose some control of the buying process and adjust their price expectations accordingly.

Nevertheless, I believe that the influx of millennials entering the market will help support current values, maintaining the seller advantage.  According to Danielle Hale, Cheif Economist for Realtor.com, millennials will make up the largest segment of buyers next year, accounting for 45% of mortgages. And according to a survey from Trulia, 21% of Americans ages 18-34 plan to buy a home within the next 12 months.

Atlanta

As I noted in my previous post, Atlanta had been more resilient than the rest of the market, but in November, the South region and Atlanta started to see some of the slow down that the national market experienced in the fourth quarter. Showing traffic was down 5% in November, indicating that many buyers are getting priced out of the market or they’re on the sidelines waiting to see how mortgage rates move. According to a Redfin analysis, Atlanta sellers have been dropping prices at a higher rate than other major markets in order to attract more buyers.

I expect this pattern to trickle into 2019, similar to the national market, although the impact will be less in Atlanta due to more inventory coming available as developments are completed. It will still be a seller’s market in Atlanta but the competition will slow impacting sales and price growth.  In 2019, according to Realtor.com, sales in Atlanta are expected to be down 1.9% and prices are only expected to grow a modest 3%.

Summary

Overall I believe homeownership will continue to rise, but at much slower rates than we’ve seen over the past several years.  Home values will increase at a slower rate and inventory levels will slowly rise. Nevertheless, there will be a lot of uncertainty in the market and values will still be difficult to find.  If you are planning on buying or selling a property it will be more important than ever to enlist an expert to help you navigate the best opportunities in 2019.


December 2018 Real Estate Market Overview

December 2018 Real Estate Market Update

As you know the real estate market has been making headlines lately due to the slowing of new home sales, which fell 8.9% in October, falling four of the last five months.

In this post, I wanted to provide an overview of the national and local market as well as my point of view on the Atlanta market.

It may seem somewhat surprising that home sales are cooling given the strength of the economy, low unemployment, and growing household incomes.  However, I believe there are some other factors that could be impacting the housing market.

Home Prices & mortgage rates

Median home sale prices in the US have increased 8% on a rolling 12-month basis, aided by the on-going low levels of inventory, which as of October was 3.1 months of supply nationally. Additionally, median household incomes have increased and stabilized back to pre-2008 levels, however, the growth has slowed and has not maintained the pace of the real estate market. Furthermore, rising mortgage interest rates, which are currently at a 5 year high, impacting buying power.

All this suggests that buyers are beginning to get a priced out of the market, anticipating a price correction or waiting to see if interest rates will pull back, which doesn’t seem likely.

Competing Demographics

Boomers looking to downsize are now competing with first time home buyers for smaller entry-level homes.  Furthermore, buyers from Generation X are not buying the suburban houses that the boomers are leaving, choosing to live in more urban settings, further increasing buying competition. This competition along with the aforementioned low inventory continues to put pressure on pricing, keeping many buyers out of the market or cautious to overpaying.

Atlanta Market

Atlanta median home sale prices have increased 6% on a rolling 12-month basis and inventory levels remain low, at 3.1 months of supply, matching national averages. Atlanta seems to be lagging behind the rest of the country in a positive way.

In Atlanta, showings are up 15% from October 2017 but have been declining on a month by month basis in 2018.  It appears that the Atlanta market has not reached the instability present in the rest of the country, but is still following the trajectory. Nevertheless, I view this slowdown as a positive for the real estate market, as it provides a rebalancing, making supply and demand more efficient as prices and supply adjust to the market.

All this said, there are still opportunities available if you know where to look, especially intown. Please reach out to me if you would like help tracking down and navigating some of these opportunities.