Few will argue that the last 18-24 months in the real estate world have been bonkers. Prices skyrocketed and inventory disappeared; no one saw this coming. However, few seem to abide by the three rules of real estate: location-location-location. National housing market reports from outlets like Case-Shiller, Redfin and Zillow are taken literally; they shouldn't be. Rapid appreciation is exactly what everyone wants, so for now, buyers and sellers line up and spew Zillow stats like gospel. Except it doesn't work that way. Real estate isn't a share of Amazon; every home is unique physically and locationally. National reports are meaningless; state reports are meaningless; local reports get a little closer but are still largely dubious. What the data looks like at 50K feet isn't what it looks like at 1K feet. Note every market is en fuego, not every price point is en fuego.
Here's a look at four major areas around North Atlanta: Alpharetta, Canton, Marietta and Suwanee. A nice mix of diverse markets in terms of area, price points and location. Watch how things change a bit as the focus is narrowed - and we're already at the "city" level. This is a three year look back at median price with a rolling median of six months; we go from broad to narrow.
Median Sale Prices
Viewed by city, we see appreciation resembling the rates noted in the national news. This is especially true from 2020 to 2021
Median Sale Prices Homes 0-400K
When homes between 0-400 are isolated, we see double digit increase vanish, three cities lose 10% or more - Alpharetta goes from a 22.6% bump to 9.9% for this price range.
Median Sale Prices Homes 400K-600K
Uh Oh....homes between 400K-600K haven't kept up with inflation over the last two years. In fact, where's the spectacular appreciation since 2019? Alpharetta and Canton are positive but Marietta and Suwanee are statistical losers. Quite different than the macro look.
Median Sale Prices Homes 600K-1M
The 600K to 1M market is similarly listless, where's the rocketing appreciation?
Median Sale Prices Homes 0-400K & Built Since 2010
Now tighten the focus for the 400K-600K group and examine homes built from 2010 to current, this includes new homes. Every city dropped in median sale price year over year, Suwanee dropped 8.6% How does this jive with what Case-Shiller says?
Median Sale Prices Homes 0-400K & Built Since 2010 with 4BR+
Getting tighter still. 400K-600K, built 2010+ and now with at least 4 bedrooms. Some differences but Suwanee still gets kicked in the face. Both Suwanee and Marietta have current median sale prices BELOW that of 2019. If anyone told owners that...shots fired.
How many buyers overpaid over the last year? LOTS. Did their agent pull them back from the edge? Many of these buyers will lose money when it's time to sell. The crazy market has to be checked with the reality of the specific data. Consider the above, this data reflects the months of insane, covid driven FOMO purchases that were prevalent over later 2020 and early 2021. Even with cash buyers, appraisal waivers, inspection waivers and every other buyer concession, some market segments did not have that chaotic median price increase. Media reports saying prices are universally up 15%+ are click bait, repeating the headline doesn't make it so. Loving Zillow when they toss a number you like doesn't make it so, nor does the hack agent fueling the fury just to get listing. Yes the market has been crazy, but the devil is in the details and sometimes....the devil can be a real PIA.
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