2015 Georgia Housing Market Predictions

Georgia Housing Market
Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia by J. Stephen Conn https://www.flickr.com/photos/jstephenconn/7030894395

According to neighborhoodscout.com home appreciation rates for Georgia real estate have been some of the most stagnant in the country for the last 10 and 25 years. And according to the National Association of Realtors, Georgia is 1 of 10 states not yet caught up with others in the housing recovery. Realtor Howard Flaschen states that a reason that Georgia may not be seeing full housing recovery might be simply be because of tight mortgage credit. However, in the last year home appreciation rates in the state of Georgia are some of the highest in the nation. So could this be a sign of an upturn for the Georgia housing market?

Most likely the answer is yes. Today Georgia represents the “New South.” Not only is the state home to one of the busiest travel hubs in the world in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport but it is also home to a number of large corporations including Delta, Home Depot, UPS, Bell South and Coca-Cola. As of today, 31 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Georgia, putting the state behind only New York and New Jersey. Even with its corporate contributions Georgia is still a leader in the nation in agriculture as well. Peach, peanut, and pecan crops are some of the tops in the country, and the state ranks third in production of lumber. Georgia has the means to sustain a growing economy.

Georgia Housing Market
Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia by J. Stephen Conn

Because of this, and the still record-low mortgage rates, housing market predictions show that along with the rest of the nation the 2015 housing market in Georgia looks like it will continue to increase. Georgia not only is home to great jobs, but it is home to several cultural centers as well. Boasting a diverse population and steady transplants of young, educated adults, the Georgia housing market is primed and ready for exponential growth in the near future. Lets take a look at some of the factors that contribute to the real estate market trends, and also look into some of Georgia’s best places to live.

Top Influencing Factors for the Current Georgia Housing Market

  • The median home value in Georgia is $139,600 according to Zillow. Home values have increased 5.4% in the past year and Zillow predicts these numbers to continue to rise 3.1% in the next year. The Georgia housing market has been steadily rising since November 2012.
  • The median rent is $1,130. Like elsewhere in the country more and more people are renting and the supply of apartments or rental properties are less available. This drives up rental prices. So while more people are looking to rent than buy the market remains slightly in the buyers favor.
  • The percentage of delinquent mortgages in Georgia is 4.9%. The national average is 6%. So Georgians are making their payments better than their fellow citizens around the nation. While this seems promising the percentage of homes with negative equity in Georgia is 22.1%. This means that they owe more on their home than it’s worth. Foreclosures make it difficult for buyers to get loans to acquire and vacant properties drag down surrounding home values. This could be a factor in why the Georgia housing market hasn’t seen an even higher increase.
  • Median sale price is $169,050 and the median list price is $179,000. Homes spend an average of 93 days on Zillow. All of these numbers are decreasing. As the time that a home sits on the market decreases, so does the buyers ability to negotiate. As of now, the housing market in Georgia still allows the buyer to dictate the terms. But as homes spend fewer and fewer days listed, the seller begins to gain control in the sale price of the home.
  • Interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage are the same as the national average of 3.9%. This looks to hold true for now but experts predict that this will rise perhaps as soon as year’s end.
  • Job growth is strong in Georgia. Where there are jobs there is a need for housing. Realtors expect that new construction and homebuilders will see a significant increase in production within the next year.

Best Places to Live in Georgia

The Atlanta metro area is home to more than half of the state’s 9.3 million residents. And despite the growing job market and the demand for housing the median home value in the city is $242,500 making the Atlanta housing market quite affordable, especially when compared to it’s counterparts around the nation such as New York, Boston, L.A., and Chicago. Managing Broker at Coldwell Banker Intown Office states, “In other markets, such as the suburbs of Washington, D.C., a similar home would cost close to $1 million.”

The Atlanta housing market enjoyed continued growth since the housing crash of 2008. In the last 2 years the home appreciation rate increased 22%, and the past year alone saw an increase of 9%. Realtor.com economist Jonathon Smoke named Atlanta one of the “Top 10 Hot Housing Markets to Watch in 2015.” And perhaps a telling sign that the Atlanta housing market is THE premiere housing market in Georgia, the city ranked number 1 on Penske Truck Rental’s Top Moving Destinations List for a fifth year in a row. “Intown Atlanta is going to continue to be a relatively strong market area,” says David Boehmig, President and Co-Founder of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. Known as the “Hollywood of the South,” Atlanta is home to many production studios and has become a popular filming location of choice. And of course the city’s music industry continues to expand. According to a 2014 study by WalletHub Atlanta is one of the top 20 in the nation in terms of educated workforce. All of these reasons result in the influx of new residents to the city and make “Hotlanta” the place to be in the Georgia housing market.

Compared to other cities in the state Augusta real estate has seen very little increase in home appreciation. In the past 2 years it has increased 1%. This fact should not be seen as a poor reflection of the city. Home appreciation has increased nearly 3% in just the last year alone. Augusta is the second largest community in Georgia and is home to a large number of people employed in the military. And with a median home value of $96,335 and a median rental price of $767 Augusta boasts some of the most affordable real estate in Georgia.

Columbus real estate has seen a jump the past 2 years in terms of home appreciation and a 3.72% increase in the last year alone. The city ranks behind Augusta as the third largest community in the state. Like Augusta, Columbus is considered a military town. And like Athens, Columbus is full of young people in their 20’s and 30’s who are educated and starting their professional careers. This makes Columbus a desirable location for other young start-ups to transplant to. Columbus has a median home value of $126,793 and a median rental price of $827. Nearly 50% of all homes owned in Columbus are occupied by the actual owner, which leaves the other half occupied by tenants. This means the city can accommodate either a homebuyer or renter rather easily.

Savannah real estate is definitely on the rise. The city is the fourth largest community in the state, and in the last 2 years it has seen an increase of 18% in home appreciation and 8% in the past year. Savannah is at once two different things. It is a historic port city and also a college centric town. This affords its residents the best of both worlds. While college students enjoy the amenities and opportunities that come with living in a college town residents can also enjoy the city’s rich history while taking in the arts that trickle down from college institutions. It really is a city that has something for everyone.

Athens is the fifth largest community in Georgia, which makes it big enough to offer opportunity for both its residents and the thousands of college students that inhabit its limits. And because Athens retains a lot of the recent graduates that attend the local colleges Athens real estate is in demand. Young, single, and educated workers looking to fill the home vacancies also attract other relocating professionals.  In the last two years the home appreciation rates in Athens actually ranks among some of the highest in the nation with a growth of 4.3%.

Check out the Competition to Georgia’s Housing Market:


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