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In Which We Enjoy This Bright Spot in Atlanta Housing Data

A dose of good news in the national media about the Atlanta housing market is always welcome, especially since it comes from arguably the biggest flame thrower in the housing industry, Case-Shiller. The most recent numbers are in and they are showing that Metro Atlanta home prices broke an eight month slide in April, moving up about 1 percent. The last positive move was in July ’11 and while the spring season tends to be the most robust, the last several years have not been kind. This spring the market benefited from continued low mortgage rates, significantly less inventory and fewer foreclosure sales. All positive signs. But just as when the news is bad, this news must be kept in perspective. As we and others have explained before, Case-Shiller considers Atlanta to be comprised of 22 counties; far too broad and diverse to be considered as one entity. There are many areas doing well, others finding stability and others that continue to search for the bottom; click your heels and repeat location location location.

Now the however?.Atlanta remains at the top of the 20 MSA areas tracked by Case-Shiller in terms of annual decline, with a 17 percent drop. Concerns remain about the shadow inventory; RealtyTrac reports that in May ’12, 1 of every 300 homes was subject to notice or repossession. Lenders continue to hold inventory off the market, trying to anticipate the best time to offer them for sale. It’s also widely expected that rates will increase toward the end of this year; all factors that are likely to influence Atlanta real estate.

However, the longest journey begins with the first step. And (for today anyway), Atlanta can enjoy a positive review by a data-wielding tormentor that is beginning to resemble a certain redheaded General that strolled through here back in the winter of 1864. A city that can rise from the ashes can certainly handle a statistical onslaught?.

-Hank Miller