12:30 pm May 26, 2009, by Henry Unger
Conflicting economic signals make for confusion. But confusion is better than what we’ve been experiencing for much of the past two years — one piece of negative news followed by another and another.
Today, an important real estate index said average metro Atlanta home prices dropped about 1 percent in March from the previous month. During the past year, average prices fell 16 percent, according to the S&P Case-Shiller index.
But two local industry veterans say conditions are improving.
Real estate agent Julie Sadlier, who’s been in the business for 30 years, swears she’s considerably busier now than last year — her worst in at least 15 years.
“I think the confidence level is up with buyers,” said Sadlier, who works for RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Intown. But, she added, many prospective buyers are looking for super deals on foreclosed property.
Steve Palm, president of SmartNumbers, a real estate research firm in Marietta, told AJC reporter Michelle Shaw that the local market hit bottom in February, according to his figures.
“February was still the bottom, and I say that because we have every closing tracked, so I know February was the bottom,” Palm told Shaw.
Lending some credence to the views of Palm and Sadlier is today’s consumer confidence report.
The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index for May reached its highest level since last September, surpassing economists’ projections.
You know we’ve been through the wringer when conflicting numbers are a welcome sign.
Get inside Atlanta's and national business news and how it affects you.
Vacation stops, manage subscriptions and more