Power Breakfast: Metro housing turning around, Toys for Tots, Lanier water, cable, holiday shopping

The year is ending with some good news on the housing front.

AJC staffer Michelle Shaw reports that November provided the first year-over-year increase in the price of existing single-family homes sold since at least 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The 2 percent increase for the region, from $126,300 in November 2008 to $129,300 last month, bucked the national trend, which saw a 4 percent drop in sales price, Shaw writes.

Steve Palm, president of Marietta-based SmartNumbers, said “there’s more good news: Locally, price was flat for all housing types sold in November.” Flat is good when you’re dealing with a down market.

Another area that saw marked improvement was sales, which improved 33 percent over November 2008, according to the Realtors’ data.

“Our housing industry had been down for 13 consecutive quarters, but it is a very good bet that fourth quarter 2009 will have a year-to-year increase for all single-family closings,” Palm told Shaw.

Also in the AJC:

In other media:

6 comments Add your comment

josegiles

December 23rd, 2009
5:36 am

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sally

December 23rd, 2009
8:21 am

I’m glad to see this news. However, I think it mainly has to do with the housing credit that was supposed to expire in November. It was extended, however, all of those that were already in the works, anticipating that it might expire, did close and boost these numbers. That’s good news for people in the real estate business of course, but the true test will be how the market performs without being propped up by the Federal government.

Alecia

December 23rd, 2009
8:42 am

The housing credit was a main contributor. However, the prices in the metro area combined with low interest rates make housing very affordable. Everything has a floor. According to the Affordability Index we are in historic times. We will see more improvements in our market once unemployment goes down and credit loosens up to a healthy level. Right now rates are low, but prime borrowers are being turned down. The bulk of the loans out there are government(FHA,USDA,&VA). What good is a low rate if credit is not available?

Foreclosures

December 23rd, 2009
9:16 am

Good points on prior posts, but I think one of the big under-reported causes of the drop in home values (and the ripple effect from the drop in value) is how lenders have handled foreclosures. By being fairly aggressive early on in terms of pushing foreclosures and then dumping those foreclosures for whatever they could get for them, prices fell much faster and further than they would have if lenders had moved more slowly.

I’d like to see some common sense return to the market and see lenders accept partial payments for a period (50% payments for six months?) instead of moving straight to forclosure. At some point, lenders have to cut their losses and foreclose on some folks, but by taking their time and working with folks that are willing to make the effort, they would avoid a great many foreclosures, avoid paying a sales commission on the resale, avoid the legal expenses, and we’d have one less underpriced and vacant home to sell.

By the way, I’m not a liberal bank-hater. I’m a very conservative homebuilder.

Brad Steel

December 23rd, 2009
10:16 am

Wow! What a shocker!

The government gives people money to buy houses and home sales improve.

The sanctimonious free-market blow-hards must be too busy complaining about health care reform to draw any of their misguided ire to the housing industry’s corporate welfare.

mediansmislead

December 28th, 2009
7:46 pm

Using median sales price over a year long, volatile period is just plain bad numbers. Late last year was the peak of distressed properties (foreclosures) and the bulk of sales were of very low value homes. So comparing a median anytime to the median then is comparing sales of different types of houses in different places. Reporting these numbers is just propaganda for the Realtors…