By Shandra Hill Smith
For the 2010 housing market, recovery – just not immediate – is on the horizon, according to industry professionals monitoring housing developments.
“We’re on our way to recovery,” said Eugene James, director of the Atlanta division of Metrostudy. But, warned James, “it’s going to be a long and gradual recovery.”
In Intown neighborhoods, while homes are selling, “we’re seeing the typical days on market for those homes that do sell at a little over 90 days,” said Rusty Willis, managing broker for the Atlanta Intown office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.
“Basically, it’s a slow chipping away at inventory,” he added.
What’s more, he said, is “there are still foreclosures impacting the market, and according to the public records, there are more to come. This is true for both single- family homes and condominiums. We’re now seeing foreclosures impact more owners and sellers in the higher-price ranges.”
There is reason to be optimistic, however. For one, first-time homeowners will be encouraged to know that the federal government has extended the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit through April.
“We’ve hit a bottom,” James said. “Things are inching along in an upward direction. Prices are starting to go back up.” At the same time, he’s noticed that “resale inventory is coming down quite a bit.” In addition, “I’m starting to see multiple bids occur on resale foreclosure properties. That’s getting more people off the fence and back into the game.”
James said this is especially true for single-family detached homes and townhomes, while it’s taking a little more time to see things turn around for condominium properties.
In a late 2009 report, Metrostudy – which provides primary and secondary market information to the housing industry and related industries nationwide – examined the nearly two dozen major metro counties, including Fulton and DeKalb. The conclusion: “Demand for new homes will grow when the job market improves,” James said.
Still, he’s convinced that there will be homes coming off the market, even with the record number of unemployed today. “There are going to be people who will want, need and have to buy a house. Those few people will be enough for us to continue to see improvement in the housing market.”
Healthy is how Ken Covers of Fourteen West Realtors in Atlanta referred to the outlook for real estate, the business he’s been in since 2000. “You’re not going to be able to break any records, but I see the market Intown being very healthy,” Covers said.
Covers, who specializes in helping homeowners get their properties ready for sale, believes Springtime in Atlanta makes for “a great time to sell your home.”
In addition to setting the right selling price, he suggests creating a plan before thinking about putting your home on the market.
“I can’t say enough the importance of getting your house ready for the market,” Covers said.
He advises homeowners not to overlook the exterior. From there, “stand in the front door and look at everything we see from the front door looking in.”
Both indoors and outdoors, sellers should be proactive and edit, meaning to get rid of any extra and clutter. Additionally, tackle those deferred maintenance items.
Covers offered this example: “There’s a piece of trim that didn’t get put on. You want to really work at removing the distractions for the buyer. All they should be thinking about is purchasing the house and living their life there, not about completing your unfinished project.”
Maintaining a bit of personality in your home is acceptable, to a point. “It’s important to leave some of your personality in the house, but at the same time you don’t want the buyer to be distracted by your personality and collections,” advised Covers, who sells in the areas of Morningside, Virginia Highland, Sherwood Park and Ansley Park.
Experts also advise that both buyers and sellers alike work with an experienced real estate agent. “In this market, it’s more important now than ever before to have an active and knowledgeable real estate agent,” said Willis. “Experience is a relative term and a buyer or seller should be more interested in any agent’s ability to get the job done. While experience is certainly helpful, evaluate a broker’s current stats for evidence. For sellers, a skilled agent can provide valuable information in positioning a home for sale and getting top dollar in this market and selling the home in a timely manner. For buyers, a skilled agent can provide insight and data to help the buyer feel good about their decision and the property they want to call home.”

8 replies on “Housing Market Forecast 2010”

  1. Great article, IMO, and I’ve been involved in local real estate since ’93. My enquiries to several of my bigger broker pals agrees with the assessments here. I expect a flat market at best as more foreclosures will be depressing on prices.
    I see the new mortgage guidelines that make loan qualifying even more difficult as the biggest 2010 negative in Atlanta. Local credit quality is the pits, and the sub 640 FICOs can just about hang it up. Additionally, mortgage broker fees and licensing is puttin a hurtin’ on some of the soon-to-be-former ‘playas’ in town. Smart cookies with patience and solid financials will be enjoying some sweet rewards in 2010. Those of us in the biz should have just enough rope to make it through.

  2. If the Atlanta housing market has hit bottom, then why does a Zillow ‘Zestimate’ on nearly every home I look at on the web come in at least 30% lower than the list price? I’m looking at upper bracket homes between $700,000-1,000,000, and the Zestimates are far below the current asking prices. I’m in Minneapolis in a very comparably priced housing market, and the Zestimates for this area are very accurate and in line with what’s actually going on around here (i.e, homes that are currently priced considerably more than the Zestimate are NOT selling.) Can anyone explain the gap? I’m not likely to spend 8 or 900,000 on a home that Zillow says is currently worth six.

  3. Shannon, the reason for the gap is because we have NOT hit bottom. In fact, we are far from it. I wouldn’t rush in to buying at this point. The market will likely fall midway through 2010 when the government stimulus package ends. The market will correct and even over correct just as soon as the government stops intervening. The downward spiral will continue; the government is only delaying it.

  4. Shannon, the reason for the gap is because we have NOT hit bottom. In fact, we are far from it. I wouldn’t rush in to buying at this point. The market will likely fall midway through 2010 when the government stimulus package ends. The market will correct and even over correct just as soon as the government stops intervening. The downward spiral will continue; the government is only delaying it. Some are saying the housing crash of 2010 will be far worse than the housing crash of 2008.
    Is it possible that 10 million foreclosures could hit the market in the next 2-3yrs?
    According to some experts, not only is it possible… the final numbers could be much higher.
    Mike Colpitts, editor of Realtytrac’s Housing Predictor writes…”10 million homeowners will be foreclosed through 2012 as more mortgage holders are unable to refinance their mortgages because of falling home values or give up at the prospect of holding on to their homes all together.”

  5. I’m slightly more optimistic than Lisa, although she makes a good point.
    While I agree we are not out of the woods, if you are in the real estate market to purchase -and in it for the long haul, buying Atlanta real estate is still a good return on investment.
    Further, our own two Georgia senators have proposed new incentives to congress to raise the $8000 stimulus rebate to $15,000 this spring. If this happens, this could negate some loss for most areas in metro-Atlanta.

Comments are closed.