How’s the market? Which market? Every month Gail and I bring you the most up-to-date real estate statistics in the Top 7 North Atlanta Suburbs. Those 7 suburbs are: Milton, Lake Lanier, Roswell, Suwanee, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, and Cumming. Keep in mind, we only cover single family homes. Condos and townhomes are not included.
Before we dive into nitty gritty numbers, let’s talk about the overall picture. You can’t get away from headlines that are meant to instill fear and convince you that Armageddon is at the front door! Fear sells!! We have been in a frantic market for so long that we are now accustomed to that velocity. Slowing down is a great thing but the change can be unsettling. If you’re speeding up Ga400 at 80 mph (not that I know anyone who does that) but then Waze tells you there are police up ahead, you slow to 65 mph and it feels like you’re crawling. This slower feeling of the real estate market feels markedly different from the hysterical market of the last two years, but it IS a good thing!
Why is it a good thing? We could not sustain that craziness! It had to stop and the Fed knew it. This post-pandemic market is confusing and has many moving parts and they all start with the letter “I”: interest rates, inventory, and inflation. It can be confusing when the Fed raises interest rates by ¾ of a percent on the same day that mortgage rates go down. It can be confusing when we list three houses and our phones light up for two but we hear crickets for one.
It can be confusing when you paid $35 for an oil change a year ago, but it’s $70 today. Confusion can be sorted out with facts and data. Let’s look to market history to see if we can find patterns of the past that can inform us regarding the present and the future.
For instance, what has been the pattern of interest rates in the past? Here is a chart of interest rates going all the way back to the 70s. The six yellow rectangles highlight the recessions during that time period. Within each recession you can see a big rate reduction.
Here’s a table showing exactly how much the rate decreased in each of those recessions.
You can see that mortgage rates went down significantly toward the end of each recession only two of which lasted more than one year. History will repeat itself and eventually, rates will go back down.
But if you go back a moment to the first chart and look at the interest rates themselves, you’ll notice that for the majority of the last 50 years, rates were normally way above 5%. It’s only in the last 12 years that rates have been below 5%. Historically, mortgage rates have been between 6-10%. We’ve grown so accustomed to cheap rates that we freak ourselves out when we are returning to historic norms. Experts at Mortgage Specialists say, “Throughout history, during a recessionary period, interest rates go up at the beginning of the recession. But in order to come out of a recession, interest rates are lowered to stimulate the economy moving forward. Historically, we have seen a repeated uptick in interest rates followed by lowered interest rates.”
It is sad that interest rates have forced lower priced buyers out of the market. For everyone else, their price point has just ratcheted downward. Perhaps you were approved for a $700,000 home but now you may be approved for $600. You still have to buy a house, but it will be less of a house. In the online article by Mortgage Specialists entitled, “Unemployment Rate & Recessions,” this Case-Shiller chart says it all! Housing Stays Strong Through Recessions!
As you can see, housing prices have only fallen once in history: 2007-2008. Perhaps the reason the real estate market stays strong goes back to the simplest reason you, no doubt, heard from your grandpa: They’re not making any more of it.
Now what about inventory? Nationally, inventory has risen to an average of 2 months supply.
Locally, within the Atlanta metro area, supply has risen as well, but it is a long way from previous years where supply was consistently 150% of current levels.
But when we drill down to the Top 7 Suburbs’ micro-markets, we see that these markets have maintained much of their strength. Why is that? Jeff Rohde in his online article entitled, “The Atlanta Real Estate Market: Stats and Trends for 2022,” says:
“Roofstock created a heat map of Atlanta based on our Neighborhood Rating, a dynamic algorithm that enables you to make informed [real estate] investment decisions by measuring school district quality, home values, employment rates, income levels and other vital investment criteria.”
DARK GREEN: 4-5 star neighborhood LIGHT GREEN: 3.5-4 star neighborhood YELLOW: 2.5-3 star neighborhood ORANGE: 2 star neighborhood RED: 1 star neighborhood
As you can see, our Top 7 North Atlanta Suburbs are just about all dark green, that is, they are some of the hottest places to buy, sell and live in the Atlanta metro area. And that is why our stats vary from national and even local averages.
Only 2 out of the Top 7 Suburbs have more than 2 months of inventory: Lake Lanier has 3.6 and Milton has 2.5 months. A balanced market is 6 months. This is why experts agree that prices in Atlanta will not fall, although they may not rise as fast as they have in the last two years. It’s simply a matter of lack of supply vs sustained high demand.
Now let’s get down to what actually happened in the Top 7 North Atlanta Suburbs. As always, let’s start with Milton.
The average price in Milton rose 3% from $1.24 million in May to $1.5 million in June. And the price of the 58 homes that were sold were on average 104% of list price, compared to 107% in May. The month of July began with 84 active listings. With its winding pasture-lined roads and large lots, Milton will continue to be a highly sought-after area.
The avg price in the Lake Lanier housing market rose 2% in June from $1.175 million in May to $1.2 million in June. Now, just a reminder – these numbers only represent homes WITH docks. The sales price to list price ratio was 96% and days on market went up from 27 to 33. These numbers reveal a nearly unchanged market for June.
For the 142 houses that sold in Roswell in June, prices rose 1% from $716,000 to $782,000. Buyers paid 106% of list price which is the same as last month. Days on Market shank from 10 to 8. With 146 active listings at the beginning of July compared with 101 active listings at the beginning of June, Roswell’s crazy days on market should increase, which will be a welcome relief for buyers seeking a home in the Roswell area.
For the 144 houses that sold in Suwanee in June, prices were up 4%, from $732,000 in May to $762,000 in June. But average Days on Market were only 11 which was up from May’s 8. Houses sold for an average of 104% of list price. July began with 174 active listings so perhaps Days on Market will increase.
Right next to Suwanee is Johns Creek where the average price was up 4% in June, from $831,000 to $872,000 and homes maintained a sold price to list price ratio of 105% with a mere 10 days on market. July began with 102 active listings compared to a paltry 78 in June so these tight numbers should begin to relax a bit next month.
Alpharetta was one of two suburbs that showed a price decrease of 2%, from $788,000 in May to $774,000 in June. Days on market remained exactly at 11 and buyers paid about 103% of list price for the 165 homes that were sold. There were 224 active listings in July so increased supply will likely extend Days on Market and maintain prices close to current levels.
Finally, average prices in Cumming went down 5% from $647,000 in May to $617,000 in June for the 319 homes sold. Average days on market were 10 and buyers paid 103% of list price. July began with 404 active listings, so perhaps the Cumming market will also relax next month.
As Jeff Rohde alluded to in his article above, the school district quality, home values, employment rates, and income levels of the Top 7 North Atlanta Suburbs will continue to make selling or buying there a wise decision, even as we return to more normal pre-pandemic market levels.
So is it a good time to sell? Absolutely!! If you are considering selling, it is more imperative than ever that you have a representative in this market who knows the local market and can navigate you through the chaos, advise you on staging, marketing and timing.
If you are ready to buy, give us a call. We are very much in touch with the changing market and can save you time, money, and headaches with our proven strategies.
We hope this is helpful information! If you have any questions, please reach out! You can find us on Facebook and Instagram at The Best of North Atlanta or, of course, call/text us at: 678-807-9566.