A post from Atlanta Real Estate Forum…

Atlanta certainly has taken a beating in the local and national media over the past week. The latest Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index report was released, ranking Atlanta second only to Detroit, with a price index of 88.93, down from a high of 136.47 in mid-2007. This represents the fourth straight month of decline for the city, and a 13% year-over-year decline, the largest loss of any metropolitan area in the country. This brings the median home price in Metro Atlanta to $178,000, down 12% from December 2010, the lowest it has been since 1998.

Not all areas in Metro Atlanta have suffered from such drastic deflation. Sub-markets inside the I-285 corridor, along with areas of North Fulton County have retained value far better than homes in the outlying areas. With foreclosure and short-sale inventory at an excess in the suburbs, prices continue to fall, dragging averages for the entire metro area down.

On the bright side, inventory in the area is decreasing. Currently, metro Atlanta’s home supply is at a 10-year low, with the number for new construction being the lowest it has been in 15 years. In 2009, there were over 120,000 available units on the market. This number has shrunk to under 50,000 units today.

More positive news arrived when the latest unemployment numbers were released. The national unemployment rate is down to 8.3%, the lowest it has been in three years. In Georgia, unemployment decreased for the third month in a row, to 9.7%, down from a high of 10.4% in December 2010.

More people entering the job market, coupled with low supply and record low prices and interest rates could spell relief for metro Atlanta home sales. According to the National Association of Realtor’s Pending Home Sales Index, sales reached a 19-month high in November and the trend continues.

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