According to RealtyTrac’s June 2012 Foreclosure News Report, Atlanta’s housing market is in a painful retrenchment after decades of extraordinary growth. Atlanta home prices have nose-dived; plunging at double-digit rates. Moreover, foreclosures can be found at every price point, and nearly half of all sales in Atlanta are bank-owned REO sales.
But could it be time to invest in the Atlanta?
Several Atlanta real estate agents tell the Foreclosure News Report, that the Atlanta market has turned the corner.
Ben Hirsh, the broker/owner of Hirsh Real Estate Specialists in Atlanta’s affluent northern Buckhead district, said short sales are on the rise and inventory is rapidly dwindling in the well-healed neighborhoods he lives and works in.
“Everything is selling,” said Hirsh, a short sale specialist who expects to sell 400 distressed properties this year in the prosperous neighborhood of Buckhead in northern Atlanta. “The high end rental market is super-hot. There’s a huge demand for that right now.”
Hirsh added: “We’re seeing a shift in the market,” said Hirsh, who sold 300 Fannie Mae REOs last year. “I closed 10 short sales last year. This year, I’m on track to do 100 short sales.”While Hirsh works Atlanta’s high end, Elliot Anderson, of Metro Estates in Marietta, Ga., works the middle market, wholesaling distressed properties and negotiating deals for investors and homebuyers.
Anderson said most of the distressed inventory, especially inside the Interstate 285 ring, has been gobbled up because of its prime location. He added more and more home buyers are foreigners who buy with cash. He said the bulk of his business is individuals who are underwater on their mortgage loan, and their agent can’t sell the home because prices keep falling. He said an increasing number of investors are buying REO with the plans to rent the properties out, which has not only intensified demand but has reduced supply of homes offered for sale.
“A lot of money is coming from overseas, especially Europe and the Middle East,” said Anderson, who has negotiated over 80 wholesale deals since 2005. “I’m dealing more with cash buyers now.”
There are some areas of Atlanta are hurting more than others. North Fulton and south Forsyth are two markets suffering the least in terms of lost value and slowing sales pace, according to broker Leslie Mathews, owner of Georgia Vision Realty Solutions, while Gwinnett County and areas south of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are taking the biggest hits in terms of decreases in value and slowest sales volume.
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