The September Cal-Culator Shows Continued Growth in the Atlanta Residential Real Estate Index
By Cal Haupt
President and Chief Executive Officer
September 2013 marks our second month of The Cal-Culator, Atlanta’s residential real estate index. Based on rising mortgage applications, declining foreclosure rates in Atlanta, the growth of the U.S. economy, amongst other factors, our Cal-Culator number this month is a 5.9. Comparatively, last month was a 5.1.
As stated in our inaugural column last month, The Cal-Culator number is based on housing trends, real estate-related indices and information from experts in the industry. We take into account such trends as mortgage rates, mortgage volume, inventory of available homes in Atlanta, the overall health of the Atlanta and U.S. economy, mortgage loan applications and more. We consult a number of professional publications and organizations such as Metrostudy, the Bankrate.com Rate Trend Index, S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the Mortgage Bankers Association commentary.
The latest Metro Atlanta Case-Shiller Index, published on September 24, continued to show signs of improvement for Atlanta. Average home prices increased by 1.8 percent from last month and 12.4 percent over the past year. The Index also found listing inventory is up 24.8 percent from its lowest level in February 2013.
More September reports from Realtytrac showed remarkable progress for the foreclosure rate in the Atlanta market. Atlanta saw the fewest U.S. homes sought for foreclosures by lenders in nearly eight years. It is the first month since November 2009 that Georgia did not land in the top 10 states with the highest number of foreclosures. In August, 55,775 homes entered the foreclosure process, an 8 percent drop from the previous month and a 44 percent drop from August 2012.
On September 30, the Mortgage Bankers Association released their commercial and multifamily quarterly data book. Their findings revealed that the U.S. economy grew at a seasonally adjusted rate of 2.5 percent in the second quarter, compared to 1.1 percent growth in the first quarter. They also found that commercial and multifamily mortgage originations grew while delinquency rates for commercial and multifamily mortgages loans declined. Mortgage applications increased within September by 5.5 percent, according to their reports.
The National Association of Home Builders reported sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 15.3 percent in the South in August and 7.9 percent nationwide. The gain helped offset a dip in July that was caused by higher interest rates. The resales marked a 6 1/2 year high as buyers flocked back to the market to take advantage of lower borrowing costs.
August also posted numbers that demonstrated ease on the housing crunch that has struck Atlanta especially hard. According to the National Association of Realtors, more buyers are beginning to put their home on the market thanks in part to rising home prices. Existing home sales increased 1.7 percent to a 5.48 million annual rate in August.
The next Cal-Culator will be released November 11. Here’s to hoping for a continual rise in the Atlanta residential real estate market.
Note: With the deadlock in Washington, the government created a big issue out of a small lesser-known component of the mortgage process. Due to the recent financial crisis, IRS 4506T transcript verifications are required on almost all files prior to closing a mortgage loan. As a result of the government shutdown, the IRS is not processing 4506T requests. The real estate lending industry put the US in a recession and if the government does not address this overlooked component and the shutdown continues, just two weeks of very limited lending will severely impact the recovery process of home builders, real estate professionals and mortgage lenders.