Economic Forecast from the Georgia 2014 Real Estate Summit

I recently attended the 2014 Real Estate Summit at The Atlanta History Center.

There were several well-respected speakers from across the real estate industry, as well as Hans Gant, who heads up Economic Development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and Rajeev Dhawan, Director and Professor,  Economic Forecasting Center, Georgia State University.

The panel was moderated by Ed Baker – Publisher of The Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Here are a few of the highlights from each of the speakers:

Hans Gant Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

Hans Gant
Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

Hans Gant – EVP of The Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

  • From 2008-2010, Metro Atlanta lost over 200,000 jobs.
  • In 2011, we started to rebound, adding 36,000 net new jobs that year.
  • We added 44,000 new jobs in 2012, and 50,000 in 2013.
  • Companies currently relocating divisions to Metro Atlanta include Pulte, Ernst & Young, GM, AT & T, Caterpillar, and Baxter Pharmaceuticals.
  • He sited “Education” as the number one concern of companies considering relocation to Metro Atlanta, with “Traffic” coming in as a strong second.
  • Gant let us know that there is a strong effort to attract the 2019/2020 Super Bowl to Atlanta!
David Boehmig, President / Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty

David Boehmig, President / Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty

David Boehmig – President / Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty

  • In 2013, there was an increase in the average sales price of homes of 25% across Metro Atlanta.
  • His prediction is that there will be a modest increase in average sales price in 2014.
David Haddow, Commercial Real Estate Broker

David Haddow, Commercial Real Estate Broker

David Haddow – Commercial Real Estate Broker

  • He called 2013 our “Watershed Year”, the dividing line between the prolonged downturn and the recovery.
  • The condo market in town has made a remarkable come back, with only 306 units currently available.
  • The average sales price is $370 per square foot!
  • There was also a tremendous increase in apartment building.
  • His prediction is demand will not keep up with the number of units under construction and proposed for 2014 – 2015.
Scott Murphy – President / DS Murphy & Associates Appraisers

Scott Murphy – President / DS Murphy & Associates Appraisers

Scott Murphy – President / DS Murphy & Associates Appraisers

  • In 2013, there was a huge increase in demand, but limited inventory.
  • The first half of the year was a big challenge for appraisers as they lacked the sold data to support increasing demand and values.
David Ellis – Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association

David Ellis – Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association

David Ellis – Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association

  • In 2013, there was a 46% increase in new home sales!
  • However, he went on to put this number in perspective by reminding us that in 2006, there were over 60,000 new homes built in Metro Atlanta.  In 2013, there were 14,500.
  • His prediction for 2014 is that 18,000 – 20,000 new homes will be sold in Metro Atlanta.
  • 84% of these will be North of I-20.
  • He cautioned that the rising cost of materials and availability of labor will be two very important factors in the home building industry this year.
Rajeev Dhawan – Chief Economist / Georgia State University

Rajeev Dhawan – Chief Economist / Georgia State University

Rajeev Dhawan – Chief Economist / Georgia State University

Overall, the message was that we have strong signs of recovery in the real estate market.

Several of the speakers reminded the audience that real estate is a local business, and we cannot apply broad range statistics to our local  neighborhoods.

For an accurate analysis of the data in your own neighborhood, call or email me for a personal consultation.

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AVALON: Exciting new development for Alpharetta!

Soon residents of North Atlanta will have a fabulous new place to go for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Avalon will be a destination unlike any other in the Southeast.  Developed by North American Properties, developers of Atlantic Station, it exemplify the “Live, Work, Play” concept.

Avalon is located on 86 acres at the intersection of GA 400 and Old Milton Parkway.  It will feature residential housing including condos and single family homes, world-class shopping and dining, a movie theater, spa, and more.

Retailers include Tommy Bahama, Lululemon, Vineyard Vines, Pottery Barn Kids, Orvis, and many more well-loved brands.  Visitors to Avalon can enjoy everything from a wine bar, to fine dining, to PinkBerry yogurt.

Look for fun and unique restaurants such as the new concept by Ford Frye of “The Optimist”, Esquire’s “New Restaurant of The Year”.

Regal Cinemas will be offering its “CineBistro” concept, featuring reserved stadium seating with food and wine service.  Also breaking ground this summer will be an 18 story hotel and conference center.

Residents of Avalon will enjoy having a Whole Foods market steps away from their front door.

If the YouTube video about Avalon doesn't automatically start in the area above, please click here to view on YouTube.

If the video about Avalon doesn’t automatically start in the area above, please click here to view on YouTube.

Atlanta Fines Homes Sotheby’s International Realty is the broker for the residential sales. 

For more information email rhonda@atlantafinehomes.com.

www.experienceavalon.com

Real Estate Market Recovery

rhonda2013 was a great year of recovery for the real estate market!    

Here are few points of interests:

NATIONAL

Sales by units were up 11%

Sales by dollar volume was up 18%

The average sales price was up 6.5%

METRO ATLANTA

Sales by units were up 3.2%

Sales by dollar volume was up 29.3%

The average sales price was up 25%

Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty                                        Our company continues to outperform the competition. In 2013, we had a 53% increase in the number of homes sold! Additionally, we have the highest productivity per agent of any real estate company in our marketplace.

Real Trends predicts that for 2014, home sales nationally will be up 4 – 6% and that home values will increase 5 – 8%.

Overall, these are very positive numbers for the market. As most of you have heard me say before, there is no such thing as a national real estate market. Even within my sub-market of North Atlanta, there are significant differences in these numbers when you analyze by specific neighborhood and price point.

chart of real estate recovery

The chart above represents the six country area of northern Metro Atlanta.  The light green bar represents the total number of homes on the market each month for 2013.  The dark green bar represents the number of homes sold each month.   The red line represents the number of homes that went under contract.  While the trends in the market have been quite positive, the fact remains that it is the homes that are professionally staged, priced competitively, and marketed aggressively are the ones that sell and sell for top dollar.

To learn more about our comprehensive strategy for a successful sale, we can schedule a personal consultation. Or if you would simply like more insight into what is happening with home values in your neighborhood, please call or email me anytime.  I’d love to hear from you! You can contact me at rhonda@atlantafinehomes.com

European Elegance in Johns Creek GA

Situated in Olde Taylor Farms, a gated community adjacent to the Chattahoochee River and in one of the top school districts in Georgia, you’ll find the most exquisite property to come to market in years, located at 10707 Polly Taylor Road in Johns Creek.

European elegance in Johns Creek, GA.  Every detail can be found here - from perfectly manicured grounds outside to masterful details inside.  Listed by Rhonda Haran of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty. Click on the image for more information and additional photos.

European elegance in Johns Creek, GA. Magnificent brick and stone estate with perfectly manicured grounds tucked away in a gated private community.Listed by Rhonda Haran of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. Click on the image for more information and additional photos.

There are six bedrooms, six full baths and three half baths in this home that was built in 2007 and boasts 8,990 square feet of living space.  From the perfectly manicured grounds, to the fine architectural details throughout the home, this property will take your breath away.

The staircase will take your breath away, and just one of many fine architectural details you will find throughout this exquisite property.

The staircase will take your breath away, and just one of many fine architectural details you will find throughout this exquisite property.

Designed by Harrison and Associates. The gourmet kitchen is a chef’s dream with Wolf range, large island, and Subzero fridge.

The heart of the home where you'll find top of the line appliances such as the Wolf range and Subzero fridge.

The heart of the home where you’ll find top of the line appliances such as the Wolf range and Subzero fridge.

The luxurious master bath is simply divine. Heated floors are yet another example of the personal touches throughout this beautiful home.

The luxurious master bath is simply divine. Heated floors are yet another example of the personal touches throughout this beautiful home.

The custom designed wine cellar features an arched doorway, climate control and room for hundreds of your favorite bottles of wine.

The custom designed wine cellar and separate tasting room features an arched doorway, intricate ceiling treatment, climate control and room for hundreds of your favorite bottles of wine.

The pool deck is finished with travertine tile that says cool even in the hot Southern summers.

The pool deck is finished with travertine tile that says cool even in the hot Southern summers.

Offered at $2,395,000

Six bedrooms, six full baths, three half baths

10707 Polly Taylor Road
Johns Creek, GA  30097

For more information about this home, including scheduling an appointment to view it, please contact:

Rhonda Haran
Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty
404.556.5600
rhonda@atlantafinehomes.com

30 Day Rezoning Moratorium in Milton

Milton horse

Milton has imposed a rezoning moratorium because the sheer volume of developer applications is swamping Milton’s Community Development Department, which makes many residents fear the city could lose its pastoral nature.

Council members voted Monday night to stop accepting applications for 30 days on rezonings in the following classifications:
•Community Unit Plan (CUP),
•Neighborhood Unit Plan (NUP),
•Transitional Zone (TR),
•Single-family dwelling (R-2 and R-2A)

“The important thing to realize in all this is that we, as a city council, remain committed to protecting our city from unchecked development,” said Mayor Joe Lockwood. “Instead, we’re actively taking steps to build a proper balance of property rights and community desires.”

Community Development Director Kathy Field said the city’s AG-1 zoning classification allows one home per acre. Developers can build at that density on any property zoned AG-1.

“There are stringent setback requirements in the AG-1 classification,” she said.

Sometimes a 1-acre lot might have topographical or stream problems that mean a home can’t be built on the lot under those requirements. AG-1 allows for a variance of up to 10 percent of the house lots. So in a 50-acre property, up to 5 of those lots could be granted a variance.

If a property has more than 10 percent of its lots with problems, developers have nowhere to go except the CUP classification, which allows up to 100 percent of the setbacks to be given variances.

“There is a concern in the community that’s allowing too much flexibility on the setback requirements,” Field said. The community feels developers and owners of land should have to follow the original setback requirements of AG-1.

“We’ve been inundated with a lot of CUPs, asking for changes to setbacks,” she said.

Field said the perception with the CUPs and other rezonings Milton is ending up with increased density. Developers say they are building the same number of lots at the same density, she said, adding that they are just better lots.

The council in granting the moratorium is letting the Community Development Department to take a step back and look at rezoning ordinances to “see if the zoning is really answering the needs of the community in terms of all the development that is going on.”

Field said the time will be spend making sure the rights of landowners in terms of their development rights are protected as well.

Only a 30-day moratorium is allowed as an emergency. But the city will spend the next 30 days advertising for a longer moratorium that could last several months.

“I think this is being driven by the consideration that there’s an awful lot of development going on in all of those subdivisions that have been previously left vacated because of the economic downturn. Those lots are being built up and new subdivision are coming in as well,” she said.

“The community is concerned about losing viewsheds, losing the pastoral look of the city of Milton. I think the council has heard that, and this is part of that response,” Field said.

Source: Alpharetta/Milton Patch

Baby it’s COLD outside!

cold

Homebuilders in the South often do not consider the threat of freezing weather and thus place water pipes in vulnerable locations. Houses built on slab foundations, common in the South, frequently have water pipes running through the attic, an especially vulnerable location. In addition, Southern homeowners experience relatively few severe cold spells, so they don’t consider freezing a problem and don’t bother checking the condition or location of pipes in their homes.

In the North, by contrast, homebuilders know freezing is a threat, and they usually do not place water pipes in unheated portions of a building or outside of insulated areas. Southern homeowners should be aware that pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are all subject to freezing and bursting. If these pipes don’t have insulation or heat to protect them, a strong overnight freeze can cause trouble.

Homeowners in the South need to be alert to the danger of freezing and bursting water pipes when the outdoor temperature threatens to drop to 20° F. That’s the temperature at which ice is likely to start forming in water pipes located in an unheated portion of a house. Once ice forms into a blockage in a pipe, continued growth of ice in the pipe can lead to excessive water pressure. It’s pressure of the water that has no place to go when ice builds that causes the pipe to burst, rather than ice pushing against the wall of a pipe. Although 20°F is well below the freezing temperature of water, two factors make this the critical outdoor temperature:

1. The temperature of an unheated portion of a house is almost always at least a few degrees above the outdoor temperature. For example, an insulated attic may be at 37 or 38° F when the outdoor temperature is 32° F.

2. Water “supercools” several degrees below freezing before any ice begins to form. In research tests at the University of Illinois, water pipes placed in an unheated, insulated attic consistently started forming ice when the outdoor temperature dipped just below 20°F.

The 20° F threshold is primarily for homes in the South and other areas where freezing may occur only a handful of times each season.  There are several precautions homeowners in the South can take when the temperature is expected to dip into the low 20s:

  • Seal all openings where cold air can get at unprotected water pipes. It’s especially important to keep cold wind away from pipes, which speeds up the freezing process.
  • Leave cabinet doors open under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow warmer room air to circulate around pipes.
  • Let faucets drip slowly to keep water flowing through pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. Ice might still form in the pipes, but an open faucet allows water to escape before the pressure builds to where a pipe can burst. If the dripping stops, it may mean that ice is blocking the pipe; keep the faucet open, since the pipe still needs pressure relief.
  • Pipes in attics and crawl spaces should be protected with insulation or heat. Pipe insulation is available in fiberglass or foam sleeves. Home centers and hardware stores have sleeves providing 1/8 to 5/8 inches of insulation; specialty dealers have products that provide up to 2 inches of insulation. The extra thickness is worth the price and can save a pipe that would freeze with less insulation.
  • Heating cables and tapes are effective in freeze protection. Select a heating cable with the UL label and a built-in thermostat that turns the heat on when needed (without a thermostat, the cable has to be plugged in each time and might be forgotten). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.
  • Exterior pipes should be drained or enclosed in 2″ fiberglass insulation sleeves.
  • Pipes leading to the exterior should be shut off and drained at the start of the winter. If these exterior faucets do not have a shut-off valve inside the house, have one installed by a plumber.

Source: Institute for Business and Home Safety.

2014 Housing Market Predictions

Crystal ball

Making predictions in what is still a somewhat volatile housing market can be tricky. That being said, we are going to give you what we believe will be the five biggest headlines for housing in 2014.

Home Sales Will Surge

Many housing pundits are calling for home sales to do slightly better in 2014 than they did in 2013. To the contrary, we strongly believe that home sales will skyrocket with increases of 10-15% in 2014.

Supply Will Struggle to Keep Up with Demand

With a dramatic increase in demand, it will be up to real estate professionals and builders to make sure there is the necessary inventory to satisfy this demand. This will be a challenge for much of the year.

Interest Rates Will Increase Significantly

Most experts are calling for an increase in mortgage interest rates in 2014. However, we believe the increase will be more dramatic than is being projected. We believe rates will be closer to 6% than 5% by year’s end.

Consumers Will Demand More from Real Estate Professionals

Home search will become a given to the real estate consumer in 2014. In order to differentiate themselves from other agents, real estate professionals will need to bring strong, meaningful content to the table in all their offerings

Go Mobile or Go Home

Any content strategy the industry contemplates must have a mobile component. All information will be accessed 24/7 in every conceivable environment. The professionals who understand and act on this will dominate 2014.

SOURCE: KCM NEWS