Atlanta suffers triple economic whammy

A look at the factors pushing metro's median home price below $100K

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Apr. 6, 2012

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If all that wasn't bad enough, Atlanta's economy suffered one final blow. Atlanta had been a strong financial services city, and with the eviscerating of the country's finance industry during the recession, the city got smacked hard. Atlanta lost about 17 percent of its finance jobs, Humphreys said, "and the nation only lost 9 percent, on average."

In addition, Georgia has led the nation in bank failures.

Take high unemployment and a devastated housing market and what do you end up with? A lot of REOs (bank-owned properties), which, on an optimistic note, are finally being cleared out of the market. That's because everything is so cheap.

"We had more sales under $100,000 last year than in all prior years," said Mitch Kaminer, president of the Atlanta Board of Realtors and an associate broker with Re/Max Paramount Properties in Atlanta. "Obviously, most houses under $100,000 are foreclosures."

In November 2011, the number of REOs sold reached 50 percent of total sales," Kaminer said.

SmartNumbers' data reflects a 23-county area, while the Atlanta Board of Realtors collects data from an 11-county area.

Whereas Palm reports that 1 in 4 homes in metro Atlanta sold at a price under $50,000, he's including Clayton County, where, he said, the median home cost is around $37,000.

The Atlanta Board of Realtors' intensive 11-county area includes most of the wealthier, close-in neighborhoods and suburbs, which have remained fairly strong. In the board's data, the median home price rose from $115,000 in October 2011 to $122,000 in November and $123,750 in December.

With that momentum, Kaminer said, "We are going to see an uptick in the market over the next couple of months."

Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis," is now available for sale on Amazon.com.

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