2010 Georgia Housing Market

Fulton County, GeorgiaHome sales are sliding in Georgia and foreclosures are climbing as markets are hampered by high unemployment, despite some of the lowest mortgage rates in history. But the housing market poses the best buyers market in more than a decade for those looking to get into a home.

Despite rising home sales prompted by the federal home buyers’ tax credit in the early part of the The Famous Mercer House Savannah, Georgiayear, values on homes are deteriorating mainly because of the over-supply of foreclosures, and properties that make up the “shadow inventory” of homes that haven’t even been formally foreclosed yet.

Sure, the problems persist for Georgia, but market conditions should show signs of stabilizing towards the end of the year as the inventory gets picked over by eager bargain hunters. Tax credits approved by state law makers to aid the economy should help the state’s recovery.

Savannah FountainIn Atlanta, the hub of this southern state that has seen more growth in the last 15 years than any other besides Florida, the foreclosure crisis has had a serious impact. An increase in home sales quickly lost momentum after the federal tax credit expired, evaporating any sense that sales would sustain at a better pace.Oakland Cemetery - Atlanta, Georgia

However, a slow rise in sales is projected to develop, and as more homes and condos are sold prices should start to stabilize. Until then home values will slide, but aren’t forecast to deflate as much as earlier in the year. The average decline is now forecast to be 6.1% for 2010 in Atlanta.

Local Georgia Housing Markets at a Glance

City Forecast
Atlanta -6.1%
Albany -4.0%
Savannah -5.0%
Columbus -5.6%
Augusta -5.8%

The market in tourist bound Savannah attracts many second homeowners, and it has sustained fewer foreclosures than many other vacation spots. That may be because the community’s historic section, draped in Spanish moss hanging from century old Oak trees attracts those who were buying for the long term rather than many looking to make a fast buck. Sure, there were lots of flippers looking for deals in the market’s hey-day, but stabilization is beginning to set-in that should help Savannah in the near term. Average home prices are forecast to drop a better 5.0% for the year.

In Columbus a hurting job market is having an effect on sales as consumers grow weary of the market. But when things look bad like they’re not going to get any better for a while that’s when it’s time to act. It’s the best time to buy a home in years in Columbus, where it’s a bargain hunter’s paradise. Look for average home prices to decline a lesser 5.6% for the year.

The downturn in Albany seems like it has lasted years, but fewer foreclosures have treated the local economy better even though job losses and business failures have hampered growth. Economic sluggishness is difficult for any region to handle, but with near record low mortgage rates and lower home prices Albany is projected to see better home sales by the end of the year. Housing prices are forecast to average just 4.0% in deflation for the year.

In bigger Augusta the military base has at least offered some strengthening in home sales coupled with the federal home buyer’s tax credit. Soldiers returning from Iraq have been buying homes, but a slumbering economy driven by high unemployment is hampering recovery. Foreclosures in much of Georgia are slowing progress. The crisis is forecast to send average home prices in Augusta 5.8% lower in 2010.