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Appen Media Group:

Real Estate Report July Special Section

July 2013

News and Advertising for New Homes • Realtors • Developers • Commercial Properties • and more

A L P H A R E T TA • C U M M I N G • C H E R O K E E • D U L U T H • F O R S Y T H • G W I N N E T T • J O H N S C R E E K • M I LT O N • R O S W E L L • S U WA N N E E

Housing Market Health - How Atlanta compares to the U.S. By: Jenni Bonura Considering a move? Here is some current data on three key economic factors that may influence your decision:

1) Appreciation:

1 year price appreciation in Atlanta is 31.1% compared to 11.2% nationally. The three year appreciation rate of 4.5% was lower than the 5.8% national number but recent significant gains indicate strength in our market. (Source: NAR Local Market Report 1Q2013)

2) Job Growth:

According to the National Association of Realtors Local Market Report 1Q2013, “Atlanta’s unemployment rate lags the national average, but has improved relative to the same period last year. Local employment growth is strong compared to other markets”. Atlanta’s 1 year job

growth rate is 2.4% versus 1.6% nationally.

3) Supply & Demand:

New construction is returning to our market but levels are still far below the long term average. For several years prior to 2008, the foreclosure rates in Georgia were higher than the national average but since 2009, we are lower than the national average. The low number of new homes and decreases in foreclosure inventory both impact the supply of homes. These are contributing factors as to why price gains have occurred in the last year. (Source: Mortgage Bankers’ Association) In summary, the Atlanta market has positive economic indicators especially within the last year especially compared to the national averages. If these numbers remain consistent and continue to trend positively then we have many

bright days ahead. If you are considering a move, the most valuable advice you can receive is from a local expert - someone who understands the macroeconomic

view but also can cite relevant statistics on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis. A true expert is someone you can trust who can provide personal attention and real

√ √ √ C all 770-206-3035 for your free home evaluation

estate expertise. If you need a recommendation for a local expert, an agent from Harry Norman, Realtors, please call me directly at 770594-4901.


REAL ESTATE REPORT • Sponsored Section

July 2013 3

Open The Door To Color For buyers: size matters (NAPS)—Your front door is talking about brighter color can ensure longevity for a you. Its appearance speaks to your perlively, vivacious home exterior. sonality, decorators say. To spice up the exterior of your Too often, the front door of our home and welcome friends and family home tends to be drab shades of beige, in a whole new way, try these tips: brown, white and gray, while the fun, • Choosing a color palette that works vibrant colors are used to make intetogether is important. Mix, match and rior and exterior walls and siding stand experiment before committing to your out. new statement-making exterior color. When you consider that all visi• Don’t forget the porch ceiling. Setors pass through the front door, a dull lecting a color other than white can play and dreary door could give the wrong off features such as ceiling fans or even impression. the brightness of the sky. Your front door could be an oppor• What would your door look tunity to make a bold statement about like if it was painted red—try it on PPG yourself with a vibrant blue, a knockout Pittsburgh Paints’ Paint Your Own red or a daring yellow-green. Room Visualizer—now available on the “Selecting big, bold color for the tablet. Snap a picture of your door and front door and adding accent pillows then apply any color you like so that and cushions for outdoor furniture you can see how it can change the peror wall art on the outside is becoming sonality of your whole home. much more popular,” said PPG color • Learn more through PPG Pittsexpert Dee Schlotter. “Homeowners burgh Paints’ The Voice of Color proshould use traditional, long-lasting colgram. PPG Pittsburgh Paints analyzes ors for home exteriors and save the upcoming color trends and incorporates statement-making hues for accent the hues into color palettes. You can pieces like doors and porch furniture.” find it at A different shade for shutters can also provide a colorful contrast. Contrary to some beliefs, front doors and shutters don’t always have to match. In fact, using different colors on the two features calls more attention and can add appeal to your home. The outside of your house can in fact define who you are and how you live on the inside. Exterior paint jobs are about more than just the color, Call today to discuss how I will though. Selecting the proper position your luxury property products for various exterior in front of your perfect audience. surfaces can make the difference between a well-executed Evelyn Lewis-Wilson paint job that will withstand the 770-905-5089 natural elements and one that will require significant upkeep ERA SUNRISE REALTY to stay eye-catching and im980 Birmingham Rd. pressive. Proper planning and Suite 606 priming before adding that new,

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Through the recession there were countless news stories and articles about the death of “McMansions.” The luxurious excess of new construction in the early 2000s would be giving way to more modest homes. Buyers were shunning the large homes that were in vogue a few years ago for better designs and nicer finishes. This shift to smaller coincides with buyers’ desires to live near more urban, walkable locations that are closer to retail and job centers. In a study by the American Institute of Architects, 59 percent of respondents wanted access to public transportation (up 47 percent from last year) and 50 percent are looking for higher density developments (up 38 percent from last year).Homes near downtown Roswell, Canton Street, Crabapple and downtown Alpharetta are — and will continue to be — highly sought-after. As Avalon and the downtown Alpharetta city project move forward, buyers are looking to be in or near these developments. However, 24 percent of baby boomers say they want to downsize, but that request comes with a caveat; they


Local Realtor Keller Williams Realty

want more living space in a smaller home. That means larger living rooms, kitchens and plenty of storage. But not everyone will be looking for smaller homes. A recent survey from Pulte homes shows that 64 percent of millennials, buyers in the 1824 age groups, will be looking for a larger home. As you would expect, this is to accommodate a larger family. Bob Strader is a local realtor with the NORTH Group of Keller Williams Realty. Visit his blogs or or email him at

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July 2013 4

Housing market bounces back Area’s real-estate sees recovery in 2013 By CHRISTOPHER FREIBERG FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. – After several years of inactivity, the real estate market is back on track with more listings and confident buyers. The market is seeing significant recovery as the season transitions from spring to summer, when more listings tend to sell. Robert Aiken, senior vice president and managing broker with Harry Norman Realtors, has been in the business for 35 years and has seen the market dip and rise from many different economic, demographic and sociological factors. “I can tell you that it is completely different than it has been over the last five years,” Aiken said. “Every single type of property has increased; land sales have increased tenfold, people are actually buying land so that seven years from now they can build a house on it for after their kids get out of college.”

2013 Q1

The recent turnaround has come from a series of suitable conditions in the Forsyth County area, Aiken said. As the 13th wealthiest county, according to Forbes, Forsyth County is now thriving from expanding corporate and regional headquarters built up in the ‘80s and ‘90s that have provided the area with people who qualified for mortgages. “If you price a house right, you can sell it,” Aiken said. “That’s not the way it was two years ago.” In addition to the attraction of corporations to the area, Paula Van Sickle, a real estate sales professional with Keller Williams Realty in the North Fulton and Gwinnett area attributes the local boom to the cities’ excellent quality of life, relatively low cost of living and close proximity to Lake Lanier and North Georgia Mountains. Alpharetta is the sixth-fastest growing city in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Rhonda Duffy, broker and owner of Duffy Realty, recalls a

U.S. National Index Metropolitan Area Atlanta Charlotte Miami Phoenix Tampa Washington, D.C.

period in 2007 before the crash when the metro Atlanta market experienced a record high of 110,000 homes for sale, a level that even forced Metro Brokers to switch their sign on Interstate 75 and I-85 from an analog system to digital because the number surpassed the five digit limit. “Ever since then we’ve slowly gone down to where we’ve been for the last two or three years which is 36,000 homes,” Duffy said. “When interest rates go down like that and then they start to pick up again, it starts to freak buyers out.”

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Ravens Ridge

2012 Q4/2012 Q3 Change (%) 1-Year Change (%) 0.4% 10.2% February/January Change (%) 1-Year Change (%) 0.0% 19.1% -0.2% 7.3% 0.3% 10.7% 1.1% 22.5% 0.6% 11.8% -0.5% 7.7%

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic. Data through March 2013.

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Fulton County Cedar Park

Level 136.70 March 2013 Level 98.29 117.56 155.89 130.29 139.91 189.70

2013 Q1/2012 Q4 Change (%) 1.2% March/February Change (%) 1.3% 2.4% 1.2% 1.7% 2.6% 1.7%

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The averages sales price for Harry Norman Realtors is now about $350,000, Aiken said. One year ago, it was about $250,000, a change that correlates with an increase in the volume of listings. This has created a new problem with the supply of real estate available. “Every time something happens, some problem is created,” Aiken said. “Before you had so much inventory that you couldn’t get what they were worth, then people were underwater. Now they’re not underwater, now they can sell them, but they want more for them than they’re worth.” This shift in inventory often results in bidding wars with over-confident sellers that raise prices above what the property is really worth, Aiken said. This may prevent the transaction from receiving an appraisal, which in turn denies potential buyers the opportunity to get loans. James Stephens, property and real estate appraiser with J.P. Stephens and Associates says the home appraisal problem relates to a large influx of investors that feel like the time is right for buying. “I think what you’re seeing in a lot of different markets in the metro Atlanta area is a shortage of available homes compared to years past,” Stephens said. “Prices are appreciating rapidly and previous homes sales that have hap-

pened earlier this year don’t really reflect the current pricing.” Stephens said because appraisals use previously sold homes as a comparative basis, the rapidly changing market makes it hard to accurately appraise. The changes in the housing market indicate a broader movement out of the nation’s economic recession. “Even the investors are so freaked now because they realize that our market is re-establishing itself and that those times are ending,” Duffy said. “It’s been very exciting for the seller who has wanted to sell his property for a long time and didn’t feel like he could.” Home prices nationwide rose nearly six percent last year, according a June report from The Norton Agency. In the U.S. National Home Price Index, 20 major U.S. cities including Atlanta showed increases on an annual basis for at least three consecutive months in 2013, according to S&P/Case-Shiller. As of the first quarter of 2013, average home prices across the country are back at their mid-2003 levels, the report states. “Wherever the bottom was, we’ve passed through it,” Aiken said. “All of the ingredients for recovery are in place. People are hiring, building, listing, and the one key ingredient always is consumer confidence.”

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In the Atlanta division, prices, plans and specifications are subject to change without notice. Photographs and or renderings are for illustrative purposes only. Information believed to be accurate but not warranted. BUILDER magazine named Ryland Homes the 2012 “Fastest-Growing Public Homebuilder” in the May 2013 issue of Builder 100. See Sales Counselor for details and a complete list of HouseWorks® features. © 2013 The Ryland Group, Inc.

Jan Huchteman, a buyer’s agent with Duffy Realty, in front of a North Fulton home.

REAL ESTATE REPORT • Sponsored Section

It’s a Sellers Market! Not so fast.

Time for sellers to celebrate, home prices are up and inventory is down. It’s not that simple. While the market has improved, there are still numerous challenges; fickle buyers, home inspections, vigorous underwriters and the scariest of all, appraisals. Selling a home, and buying for that matter, is more complicated than ever. Depending on the area, current home price gains are averaging in the 10-15% range but that is not the same as “values”. Home values are determined by appraisers analyzing recent area sales of comparable properties. Recent sales are usually defined as sales within the last 4-6 months.

And, and “area comparables” can mean homes located within a 1-2 mile radius, often the same elementary school district and within +/- 10% finished square footage. If it sounds like the appraisers are looking for a needle in a haystack, you’ve got the right idea. Of course, an experienced Realtor® will do their homework in providing data to help validate a seller’s home value. Buyers, who have been enjoying the last five years of a “buyer’s market”, create another potential barrier to sale. Many homes are going under contract within 1-2 days and buyers are making snap decisions without really consider-

The New Face Of  Real Estate Investors (NAPS)—It may seem surprising to some, but real estate investors can not only do well for themselves, they can do good for the community, too. Here’s How Back when the housing market went bad, investors got a lot of the blame. They were accused of taking on more properties than they could afford, which resulted in increased foreclosures. Now, however, investors are finding valuable opportunities and earning a more respectable reputation. In several areas that were hit hard by the housing and economic recessions, investors are playing a key role in the turnaround. Many of today’s investors are ordinary people, simply buying a second home in their own neighborhood and turning it into a rental property. So why the surge in real estate investment? These investors see the “perfect storm” of opportunity: historically low interest rates, attractive home prices and a great selection. The new breed of investor also removes many damaged and vacant properties off the market and makes much-needed repairs to improve the value of their investment and the neighborhood. Because rental demand is strong, today’s investor can realize a positive cash flow and hold the property for appreciation over the long term. Also, Fannie Mae now allows financing for up to 20 properties for individual investors, in addition to financing that will cover both the property purchase and remodeling costs. During any real estate downturn, all eyes fall on real estate investors. Their activity level often indicates how stable real estate markets are and signals other buyers

when it’s a good time to make a move—typically when investors sense prices have stopped declining. Investors are sending a strong message about their confidence in the current market by making up over 20 percent of all residential real estate buyers. Expert’s Opinion “Real estate is and has always been a sound longterm investment,” said Margaret Kelly, CEO of the real estate franchise company RE/MAX, LLC. “More and more of the folks next door are taking steps to secure one or two rental properties or a vacation home in their favorite locations in hopes of adding to their nest egg.” Interested buyers don’t have to have a large sum of cash on hand to start investing. In fact, it’s even possible to use retirement funds, such as an IRA, to invest in real estate, using an approved custodian to manage the investment. Many budding investors may not be aware of the stimulus they provide a challenged industry and a struggling economy. Investors reduce the foreclosure inventory, make improvements and provide housing for families that can’t qualify for a mortgage. All this adds to the momentum of the current housing recovery. Anyone thinking of investing in real estate, however, should seek out professional advice and assistance. “Real estate agents know their communities and can identify the best opportunities. And many real estate agents have obtained specific training to help those looking for investment property,” Kelly added. Many communities that suffered during the housing crisis are now benefiting from increased investor activity.

ing all factors of the purchase. So, we are starting to see a few more contract terminations. Unrealistic buyer expectations regarding concessions and lengthy repair lists contribute to the volatility of deals. And, who are underwriters and where did they come from? These folks are the lenders’ eyes and ears and, they are very (very) particular about the properties being purchased. And, yes they take a close look at buyers, too. So, to say, it’s complicated, is an understatement. Today’s market requires an ally. Now is the time to find yourself an experienced, full-service Realtor®.

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REAL ESTATE REPORT • Sponsored Section

July 2013 6

July 2013 Real Estate Report  

Real Estate Report is a special section that focuses on the North Metro Atlanta Real Estate Market, including information about new homes, r...

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