We’re excited to share that it has been one year since Atlanta was introduced to The Cal-Culator, Atlanta’s first residential real estate index. The inaugural index was 5.1 when we began last summer. For comparison’s sake, in July 2007 when Atlanta home prices were at their peak, the Cal-Culator would have been a 9. Approximately 18 months ago in March 2012, the Cal-Culator would have been a 1.5. Now, the Cal-Culator stands at a very respectful 6.3, a 0.1-increase from last month. Increased inventory, increased new single-family homes and continued declining foreclosures contributed to the slight increase in the index.
Since August, sales of newly built, single-family homes have been at the highest level in six years. Sales of new single-family homes in August rose 18 percent nationally from July and 33 percent above 2013 levels, according to the latest data released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development on September 24. The South posted a 7.8 percent change month-to-month and a 27.2 percent increase from 2013.
“This robust level of new-home sales activity is a good sign that the housing recovery is moving towards higher ground,” said National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe. “Historically low mortgage rates, attractive home prices and firming job and economic growth should keep the housing market moving forward in 2014.”
The data also reflected a slight increase in inventory, which now stands at a 4.8-month supply.
Unfortunately, after four consecutive months of gains, existing-home sales fell 1.8 percent nationally and 4.2 percent in the South in August, according to The National Association of Realtors.
“There was a marked decline in all-cash sales from investors,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “On the positive side, first-time buyers have a better chance of purchasing a home now that bidding wars are receding and supply constraints have significantly eased in many parts of the country.”
CoreLogic’s latest report on foreclosures revealed a 22.2 percent decline in foreclosure nationally year-over year, though Georgia is still fifth on the list of states with the highest number of foreclosures. The 12-month sum of completed foreclosures is at its lowest point in nearly seven years.
Though August marked the 34th month of consecutive foreclosure decline, economists still have significant concerns about the current state of homeownership.
“Clearly there has been a large improvement in the market the last few years, but five years into the economic expansion the foreclosure inventory remains at nearly three times the normal level,” said Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic.
Though home price gains have eased, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indicies showed that the 20-City Composite (where Atlanta is included) had a small increase of 0.5 percent month-over-month, according to data released September 30. Atlanta also posted a 0.5 percent month-over-month increase and a 6.7 percent 1-year change.
Join us next month on November 11 for the October Cal-Culator as we hope to continue into the index’s second year with positive gains in the housing industry.