Although it’s become all too common to hear “…once in a lifetime” or “…once is a hundred years”; the 2020 market and most aspects of the 2021 real estate market could be described in those ways. No one anticipated the impact of Covid and the subsequent impact of billions in government subsidies. But now the brakes are being applied and economists wonder, what will the 2022 Atlanta real estate market look like? Something has to give...or maybe not. At this point in the '22 market (Mid Feb), nothing has changed. In fact, the tempo has increased ahead of rising mortgage rates, which are already a point higher than last year at this time. Just a month ago, we posted that home buyers will be frustrated, that's largely confirmed at this point.
Despite the unpredictability of the last two years, the best indicator of the future is the past. Below is a look the housing market around Atlanta from Jan 2020 through Dec 2021. The data considers the six main counties; Fulton, Forsyth, Cobb, Cherokee, Dekalb and Gwinnett. We’ll also mix in economic opinions from sources in the know (LMAO) about what to expect as the Atlanta area 2022 real estate market unfolds. We can say that to this point (mid Feb 2022) NOTHING has changed; buyers are brawling even more given the rising interest rates.
Months of Inventory (MOI) is a reliable indicator of current inventory and how the market is balanced. It’s loosely defined as a measure of how fast all the existing homes on the market would last assuming that no more listings are added and that they sell at the average rate of the last twelve months. Generally, MOI from 0-3 indicates a seller’s market (little inventory); 3-6 a balanced market and 6+ a buyer’s market (excess inventory).
As 2020 opened, the market was strong and largely in balance. As the spring market moved to favor sellers, Covid shut it down. We see the bump up and then the drop to just over a month starting 4/21. It’s been dragging at about a month and the outlook for 2022 is more of the same. We’ll see.
If a visual graphic were needed to summarize this market, here it is. Just for comparison, at the height of the foreclosure crisis, there were over 100K listings on the MLS. The drop in active listings is precipitous; by April 21 a short stabilization then down again. We’re standing at the lowest recorded point for listings. Sales are also at all time lows, again nothing surprising to current buyers and sellers.
Inventory isn’t expected to increase over 2022 so these numbers may remain in the same range. A healthy real estate market is a cycle and while it’s easy to sell, sellers know what they face as buyers so they stay put. Until that’s solved, little will change.
HOW MUCH, HOW FAST -
Around Atlanta, there are no bargains in real estate. Most homes were selling in the high 90% range (of list price) before the 2020 market, that continued and reached to about 100% during 2021. It’s accurate to say that sellers are completely calling the shots right now.
For those willing to open the wallet, speed is essential. The well known economic rule of “you snooze, you lose” is demonstrated here. We see the off the cliff drop in early 2020, the dead cat Covid bounce, then the glide path to a low of 5 days in 4/21. But we’re talking 20 days or less for the last 18 months so…We don’t expect this change.
The increase in home prices cannot be more covered; every platform, every day, and every area it’s “housing housing housing”. But everyone needs to take a step back; real estate is the single most unique item in existence. Every home is different, as are the motivations of buyers and sellers, as are conditions at the time of purchase. Broad data does not necessarily reflect activity at the micro market level. Appraisal issues remain, buyers must prepare. But no one can doubt the market right now, just exercise reason and logic.
The six counties mirror the larger trend around the full Atlanta area market. Covid exacerbated migration out of many larger cities; Atlanta has and continues to grow in population and appeal. The low mortgage rates and rising rents pushed many renters to buy, that pace is picking up as rates rise. Combine the demand with the insanely low inventory and the result is as expected.
WALL STREET -
Wall Street backed firms and major corporations have been on an unprecedented buying spree. The greater Atlanta area is the number one market for single family rentals, and the corp investors have no budget constraints. First time and first move up buyers really cannot compete, this keeps them in rentals…which coincidentally fits perfectly into the plans of these very firms.
These firms are also buying new homes directly and three new communities started this winter which will one hundred percent rental. This activity has a direct and obvious impact mainly on first time buyers as well as the rental market overall. With their buying strength, the typical buyer is left on the side lines as sellers have easy choices.
THE OUTLOOK -
The growth of the Atlanta market since the ’96 Olympics has been remarkable, Atlanta is a major economic force and home to multiple Fortune 500 firms. The global economy took a hit with Covid, but this region is already rebounding well and multiple forecasts call for a complete recovery not later than the end of 2022.
Atlanta remains a draw for industry and many sectors are driving the local economy. The film industry is very strong around the area with multiple studios, major films and many independent productions. The tech sector is firmly entrenched along the 400 corridor and is spreading inside the perimeter. Banking and finance continues to be a major factor, as does education and major employers like Amazon, UPS and Fed-EX.
2022 will be a withdrawal year; the sugar highs of government handouts, Fed buybacks of bonds and the billions injected into the economy will end. There will be inflation and pain; rates will rise, housing inventory will be slow to find balance and everyone will be looking to find solid ground. Sellers will likely remain in control, buyers will find stiff competition and buyer's remorse will impact some. An experienced agent will pull buyers back from the edge.
SAGE ADVICE -
- Work with experienced professionals
- Get approved and establish a budget
- Define success
- Act when success is presented
- Work with experienced professionals
- Have the next steps figured out
- Define success
- Choose wisely and act when success is presented
Consider all options before getting into the ring, once the balloon goes up chaos reigns. Working with professionals cannot be overstated, the agent population is at a record high despite record low sales activity. Agents that haven’t been through markets like this are getting steamrolled - as are their clients. Most of all, buckle the chinstraps and hang on.
The Hank Miller Team puts 30+ years of full time sales & appraisal experience to work for you. Act with complete confidence & make sound, decisive real estate decisions. 678-428-8276 and firstname.lastname@example.org Posted by Hank Miller on