Everyone is looking forward to the new year with hope that the economy will continue to improve. It’s particularly encouraging that Atlanta real estate professionals are predicting a better market for 2013.
“The bottom of our housing market has come and is now fading away in the rearview mirror,” said David Boehmig, President and Co-Founder of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. “If you thought about buying in the past few years but have been putting it off, right now may be the best combination of low interest rates, a healthy level of home choices and, relatively speaking, great prices!”
Buying now is good advice, especially for people hoping to move into some of Atlanta’s premier areas. According to Tom Fulkerson, Managing Broker at RE/MAX Metro Atlanta, Inc., the Intown Market is hot, especially neighborhoods like Virginia Highlands, Morningside, Candler Park and Midtown.
“I think these neighborhoods are in such high demand because people want to be near shops, restaurants and parks. With the congestion of Atlanta traffic, it’s appealing to be able to walk to the amenities of Intown,” Fulkerson said. “I also foresee nearby neighborhoods picking up in sales in 2013 as inventory sells out in the Intown area.”
Other Atlanta communities are showing higher than average activity, too, most notably Buckhead and North Atlanta, including Milton and Johns Creek. All of these areas have what people want: convenient location, good schools, proximity to key employers and a variety of lifestyle choices.
So what will be the most popular properties in 2013? Atlanta Realtors are expecting the trend to continue in the same direction as it had been going last year.
“Single family detached homes with a minimum of three bedrooms and two baths seems to still be the most desired housing,” stated Lisa Johnson, Managing Broker, Coldwell Banker Intown office. “We’ve also seen a nice increase in the number of condos sold in the Intown and Midtown markets over the last year. All that being said, people purchase according to lifestyle needs and desires.”
The activity in single family homes and condos can be attributed to a variety of reasons. Mike Wright, Senior Vice President/Managing Broker at Harry Norman Realtors Intown Office, explained that single family homes have a great appeal to younger couples, especially those with families or planning to start a family. Condos, particularly those in the mid $200K range, are appealing to younger singles and couples looking for their first home, as well as older singles and couples looking to free themselves of the maintenance responsibilities of single family homes.
“Both of these housing types are being affected by greater demand and fewer properties coming on the market,” he said. “The Intown neighborhoods have very few new construction single family homes and recently constructed condos are rapidly selling out, with the exception of ultra luxury units.”
Wright predicted that in 2013 the Intown real estate market will be almost exclusively resale. That’s good news for homeowners planning to sell. It’s worth knowing that some of the key amenities homebuyers look for are high efficiency systems, green construction materials, functional living space and higher end finishes. Outdoor rooms are also in demand right now, and well-designed kitchens and bathrooms are always important.
“If you’re thinking about selling, do it!” Fulkerson advised. “Inventories are low and buyers are waiting for your listing!”
Overall, the Atlanta real estate forecast for 2013 is a good one. Boehmig sees home buying and selling trending upwards as the economy continues to recover. “The surge in the real estate market is related to consumers feeling more optimistic about their job security, low interest rates and the decision to move on with their life after this multi-year recession.”
There are a few simple things that buyers and sellers can do to take advantage of the improved economic climate. Wright suggested that buyers be pre-qualified for a loan and ready to act when they find a house they want. Sellers should have their homes properly prepared, priced correctly and marketed by an expert. He stressed that it’s important to hire an experienced, professional Realtor who is prepared to navigate the various hurdles, such as pricing, negotiating, appraisals and inspections.
All the real estate professionals agree that it’s critical to be aligned with a knowledgeable Realtor. “An agent can set up a client on various systems that will notify them of sales and listings in specific areas, and the agent can help interpret what the market is doing,” Johnson said. “Obviously we can’t predict the future, but we can and do watch closely to see what’s happening.”