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Is It Time for Home Buyers to Get off the Fence in Atlanta?

We assidiously avoid serving the Kool-Aid. And if you've read these pages regularly, you've been exposed to a lot of information supporting some extended fence sitting. But we are beginning to wonder if it might be time to for people to consider buying a home in parts of metro Atlanta. Empirical evidence supporting an affirmative response to that question has been there for a while: ridiculously low interest rates, a decent supply of inventory, rising rents / low rental inventory and of course data that demonstrates areas of Atlanta may finally be finding the bottom. Put simply, in several Atlanta housing markets it’s cheaper to buy than rent.

Of course Atlanta is understandably gun shy after making national headlines for all the wrong reasons, with values in February falling twice as much as the next closest city. Less publicized was the headline that Atlanta is currently considered to be one the top city for home buyers. In some cases, the average monthly rent is 50% more than the average after tax mortgage payment.

As rents increase due to demand, interest rates continue to fall to rates never before seen. With rates firmly under 4% for fixed-rate mortgages, the uncertainty of volatile adjustable rate loans is removed. When the numbers are crunched, many potential buyers end up smiling. Good credit means large smiles, but even buyers with a few dings are finding FHA options appealing.

If one does believe it's time to buy, caution is certainly the word of the day. Location is paramount; Atlanta is a series of submarkets and no two are alike. And for anyone expecting to get rich owning a home...well, it's hard to know what to say other than "get help."

Circling back to the beginning, we asked a question. Do YOU think it's time for buyers to get off the fence in Atlanta?

-Hank Miller