Between payroll employment, participation rate, the stock market, home sales and retail numbers, you could make an argument that the economy is on a steady mend or still floundering. The economy isn't firing on all cylinders yet, but it is definitely improving. Of course economic improvements vary across the country as well as around metro Atlanta. Here along the Ga. 400 corridor, the recovery is much more solid.
Only 1.4 percent of metro Atlanta's mortgaged properties are in the foreclosure process, which is less than the national average. While distressed sales are down 24 percent nationally, they are down 47 percent in Forsyth County and 84 percent in North Fulton in January, compared to a year earlier. Most of the distressed properties are being purchased on the courthouse steps, and short sales are the majority of distressed sales that the typical buyer sees now.
There is more good news beyond the decrease in foreclosures. New construction has rebounded and permits for single-family homes in our area are close to the numbers we saw prior to the recession. New construction is important because that means jobs, more disposable income, durable goods purchases and growth in GDP.
Available inventory is down – for now. As we move into spring, we'll see a lot of those new homes mentioned above come online. In addition to new construction, more homeowners are finding themselves in a position to sell as their equity rises. And we know equity will be rising because…prices are up. Average sales prices in North Fulton are up 22 percent year-over-year and up 13 percent in Forsyth County. Price appreciation will continue to be reinforced by the new construction and economic development in the area.