Spring Traditions are Here in the Atlanta Housing Market
Pollen isn’t the only indicator spring has arrived. The traditional spring upturn of the housing industry has struck. Median home prices, closed transactions and average days on the market are all moving in positive directions – even if inventory continues to be sparse in the area – to bring the Cal-Culator to 7.1 for March.
As reported by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the median price for all homes sold in March was $218,490, which is 9 percent higher than the median price in February and 7 percent higher than the median price in March 2015. Closed transactions for March jumped 34 percent over February, but dropped by 2 percent from March 2015. Unfortunately, the number of months supply of inventory at the end of March dropped 2.3, which is down 15 percent from February and down 15 percent from March 2015.
“We are seeing home prices continuing their climb back up,” said Jeanette Schneider, senior vice president of RE/MAX of Georgia. “At the same time the inventory of homes is declining so there can be much competition for homes available.”
As a result of the inventory crunch, homes are worth more than than ever in one-quarter of the housing markets, especially in Southern and Western housing markets. The national Zillow Home Value Index is only 5.9 percent below the record median home value set in 2007.
“These new records mean we’re no longer making up ground lost during the housing recession –we’re laying a new path forward, based on demand for housing and economic growth throughout the economy” said Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell. “In some markets, these new highs are a return to normalcy.”
Despite positive indicators in many areas, the housing industry is never smooth sailing across all fronts. Fannie Mae’s first quarter 2016 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey revealed less lenders are easing up on credit standards. However, more lenders are expected to ease credit standards for all mortgage types over the net three months.
“The survey suggests a slower pace of easing, as the net share of lenders who reported that they have eased credit standards overall over the past three months remained positive but has declined since the third quarter of last year,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Lender expectations for easing over the next three months have also moderated. Many lenders also indicate a likely increase in the sales of mortgage servicing rights, possibly to compensate for these countervailing pressures on profits and to take advantage of current favorable pricing in the market.”
The next Cal-Culator will be released May 10. We’re hopeful by then the pollen will clear and the housing industry will continue to propel forward.