Amid the summer heat, real estate in Atlanta is sizzling. Last month, the Cal-Culator, Atlanta’s residential real estate index, reached the previous record of 6.0. This month, the June index has climbed to a record high of 6.2 due to across-the-board improvements in home sales, builder confidence, home prices, increased inventory, foreclosures and more.
Pending, new and existing home sales all saw strong improvements in May. Existing-home sales rose 4.9 percent, with attributions to rising inventory levels, the improving job market and declining mortgage rates. Pending home sales rose “sharply” 6.1 percent, the largest increase since April 2010 when first-time homebuyers scrambled to sign contracts before a lucrative popular tax credit ended, according to the National Association of Realtors.
New-home sales posted an even stronger rebound with a nearly 19 percent increase from last month, the highest rate since May 2008, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with the U.S. Census Bureau.
“These numbers are in line with our recent builder surveys, which indicate that more consumers are getting off the fence and coming back into the marketplace,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.
RealtyTrac reported that the median sales price of distressed and non-distressed U.S. residential properties rose 6 percent in May from the previous month and 13 percent from a year ago, the second consecutive month in a row with a double-digit annual increase and the biggest annual increase since prices bottomed out in March 2012.
New data from the NAHB and Wells Fargo Housing Market Index showed that builder confidence for new single-family homes rose to only one point shy of the threshold of what’s considered good building conditions. The index rose four points to a level of 49. Any number over 50 indicates the majority of homebuilders view conditions as “good” rather than “poor.”
“After several months of little fluctuation, a four-point uptick in builder sentiment is a welcome sign and shows some renewed confidence in the industry,” said Kelly.
Foreclosure levels in Atlanta have continued the downward trend that has permeated the real estate industry in 2014. Foreclosures in June dropped to levels not seen since 2002. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on data from Kennesaw’s Equity Depot that 2,054 foreclosures were reported in June across 13 Atlanta counties, compared to 11,016 during the height of the housing crisis. The Northeast and West aren’t faring as well, however, as foreclosure levels skyrocketed in May, according to Housing Wire.
Stay tuned as we release the next Cal-Culator on August 5 to see if Atlanta’s residential real estate numbers continue on their current path of rebound.
-Cal Haupt is the president of Southeast Mortgage, a regional HUD lender with 10 branches doing business in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina.
About The Cal-CulatorThe Cal-Culator is the brainchild of Haupt. To compile the index, Haupt consults a number of professional publications and indexes, such as the Mortgage Bankers Association’s commentary, Metrostudy’s market information and the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. After constantly being asked to predict what was next for the Atlanta housing market, Haupt realized stakeholders had no other credible, easy-to-understand resource to help understand Atlanta’s real estate market conditions, so in September 2013, he launched The Cal-Culator.