The Atlanta REALTORS® Market Brief is published monthly at atlantarealtors.com/marketbrief and is compiled using data from First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS). You can also sign up to receive the information via an RSS feed or be on the lookout at our social media sites.
Demand: December residential sales were at 4,086, a decrease of 6.2% from the previous year.
Price: Average and median sales prices continue to gain traction and outpace 2015’s figures, with positive gains. The median sales price in December was $239,000, an increase of 6.2% from last December. The average sales price was $300,000, up 6.0% from the previous year.
Supply: Atlanta area housing inventory totaled 14,738 units in December, an increase of 6.5% from December 2015. New listings totaled 2,824, down 2.8% from December 2015 and down 23.0% from the previous month. The month’s supply over a 12-month period decreased to 3.1 months.
A Word from 2017 Atlanta REALTORS® President Bill Rawlings: “Low inventory continued to be an issue for Metro Atlanta throughout 2016 with inventory still hovering at just over 3 month’s supply. As a result Median Home prices continue to rise with a 6.2% increase over 2015 and overall, 2016 sales were 7.9% ahead of 2015. This continues a trend of steady positive growth each month for the past 5 years. While there are still concerns over potential interest rates, we remain bullish about the housing market outlook for 2017.”
Prepare to meet your new first daughter-to-be, Washington, DC! Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner,have reportedly picked up a six-bedroom, seven-bath house in the upscale neighborhood of Kalorama. Located at 2449 Tracy Place Northwest, the power couple’s new home is less than two blocks from outgoing PresidentBarack Obama‘s new home. Can’t you just picture this offshoot of the new first family bumping into the former one while they’re walking their dogs Sunny and Bo? Cute or awkward? Hard to say. (We go with awkward.) Currently, a few key questions remain unanswered. Are Trump and Kushner renting, or did they buy? The local multiple listing service shows that the home was last sold in late December for $5,512,260 to an undisclosed owner. That mystery buyer could be Trump and Kushner, or it could be someone else who’s renting them the place (the broker behind this deal, Washington Fine Properties co-owner William F.X. Moody, could not be reached in time for comment).
Still, the real question we’re all wondering is: What are their new digs like? Since a picture (or photo) speaks a thousand words—and we here at realtor.com® have access to tons of real estate pics not available to the public—we figured we’d take you on a virtual tour of Trump and Kushner’s new home and let you decide for yourself. The home’s exteriorHel-lo, house! It just comes right up and greets you at the curb, which some experts worry could turn into a security nightmare, and potentially cramp whatever sense of privacy Trump may have been hoping to have in her new home. “This is a highly desired area in DC and is somewhat dense as you can see from the proximity to the street,” points out Bruce Ailion, a Realtor® at Re/Max Town and Country in Atlanta. “Even as a non-high-profile person, as a luxury buyer I would demand more privacy and be willing to pay for that.” Yet Russell Firestone, senior vice president of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, points out that the home has more privacy than may appear at first glance. “Do you see that large staircase in the front?” he says. “You have to walk up to the second floor to see anything.” In other words, they’ve got some protection from street-level looky-loos. Kalorama is a historic district, so renovations on the home’s exterior are largely limited. Yet inside, the home has undergone massive updates and modernization. Inside Ivanka Trump’s new homeWhile this living room may not look all that daring in terms of decor, the modern furniture and abstract art are actually way out there for the conservative environs of Kalorama. “Kalorama interiors tend to be a little more conservative. There aren’t a lot of modern interiors in this area,” says Firestone. “That makes this home’s decor very unique.”
The modern minimalist style continues into the surprisingly low-key kitchen. Perhaps The Donald‘s first daughter is more accustomed to takeout than cooking meals.
Dinner parties (regardless of who cooks) will be a breeze in this formal dining room, especially with yet another fireplace at one end.
Another fireplace, views of nature, and cool tones create a calm ambience for a good night’s sleep in the master bedroom.
What about the kids?Let’s not forget that Trump and Kushner have three kids: Arabella Rose, 5, Joseph Frederick, 3, and 9-month-old Theodore James. And who knows if more are on the way? Clearly those six bedrooms could come in handy. And apparently they’re part of a trend in neighborhood demographics. “Kalorama used to house many diplomats, but it’s becoming more family-friendly,” says Firestone
How their new home stacks up to the oldBefore their move to DC, Trump and Kushner were living in a four-bedroom condo in Manhattan, so their new six-bedroom home—at 6,870square feet—must feel quite spacious. Plus, it’s abundantly clear that this new home reflects this New York couple’s modern aesthetic rather than the formal conventions of Kalorama. And perhaps that’s a good thing for the neighborhood, which seems overdue for a fresh influx of home decor ideas; think of it as New York meets DC with a family-friendly twist. .
Not only did the election of Donald Trump rock the U.S. political establishment, it has had a major influence on interest rates as well—resulting in the economy’s single biggest postelection shift.
Interest rates on 30-year conforming mortgages have moved up by more than 50 basis points since the election on Nov. 8. (A single basis point is 0.01%.) That means that within just a few weeks, mortgage rates have moved to levels we haven’t seen in more than two years. So what does that rate shift mean? Well, it indicates an economy with very low inflation moving to one with more significant inflationary pressures.
Long-term bonds and mortgages are less attractive to investors when inflation is higher, leading to lower prices for bonds and therefore higher interest rates.
In real terms, the movement in rates so far has increased mortgage payments by 7%. On a median-price home, that shift amounts to more than $750 in additional interest per year. Make no mistake: That is bad news for future buyers.
This week, the average 30-year mortgage had a rate of 4.27%. Over the past five years of the housing recovery, rates have failed to stay above 4%. But things look different this time around. Rates are more likely to go up from here rather than down. And that means that now more than ever, potential buyers need to be working hard to secure the best rate possible on their own mortgage.
We are already seeing evidence that consumers have been able to mitigate some of the increase in lenders’ advertised rates. Looking at a large sample of 30-year confirming mortgages locked on the Optimal Blue lending platform from Nov. 9 through Dec. 2, the average change on actual 30-year mortgages was 43 basis points.
How to get the best mortgage rate?
Here are some ways that you can improve the rate you are quoted:
Shop around. Mortgage rates often vary from lender to lender, just like gas prices vary from station to station. Borrowers should put as much effort into finding the best mortgage for themselves as they do finding the best home. Compare rates, points, and fees. Ask for discounts. Leverage potential rate discounts from financial companies that already provide you services. Your loyalty could be worth a better rate. You’ll never know until you ask. So ask. Improve your credit score. If your credit is less than excellent, increasing your score by 25 basis points could result in a rate that’s lower by 10 basis points. Higher credit scores mean lower risk to lenders, and lower risk translates into lower rates. Pay for a discounted rate. Lenders will often offer a lower rate for a fixed fee paid upfront called a discount point. You can do the math to see if the cost of the discount is worth the lower payment you would receive as a result. Put more money down. The payment is a function of the loan amount, which is what is left over when you subtract the down payment from the purchase price. The more you put down, the less you’ll pay going forward. Consider a different loan product that has a shorter duration for the fixed rate. These “hybrid loans” combine features of a fixed-rate loan with those of an adjustable-rate loan. A 5/1 hybrid will offer a fixed rate for the first five years of the loan but will then move to align with market rates each year after the loan’s fifth anniversary. The average 5/1 conforming loan rate today is over 110 basis points lower than the average 30-year conforming rate. The reason the rate is so much lower is the borrower is taking on the longer-term rate risk. So there needs to be a trade-off. Is the future rate risk worth the lower upfront rate? A 10/1 hybrid would maintain a fixed rate for 10 years, the normal tenure that many people live in their homes these days. In other words, for many borrowers, the 10/1 could result in the best deal in terms of interest. Pay less. Let’s get real. Sellers are not going to be very receptive to taking a lower price just because your financing costs increased. But they might be more open to providing some funds for closing costs, maybe a discount point worth. To a buyer, $1,000 more on the price paid over a 30-year mortgage is worth a lot less than the same $1,000 provided at closing by the seller. Yet to the seller, they net the same. Just be careful that the appraised value will support the higher price. The other way to pay less, of course, is to simply find a lower-priced home. But you knew that already, right? And here’s the good news While all this might sound quite bleak, there is an upside to future borrowers as a result of higher rates: It’s getting easier to get a mortgage. The Credit Availability Index reported monthly by the Mortgage Bankers Association is at its highest level since 2007, when 30-year mortgage rates were above 6%. With higher rates, lenders are encouraged to take on more risk as they can make more money. Likewise, if they want to maintain their mortgage business, they have to more aggressively court the purchase market in order to replace the volumes they have been doing in the refinance market. That means potential borrowers should be seeing more love from lenders even with low down payments, lower credit scores, and higher debt-to-income ratios. However, rates will likely be volatile day to day until we see more certainty about future fiscal and monetary policy in the U.S. If you are planning to buy, monitor rates specific to your area daily. Just keep this in mind: The long-term direction of rates is now decidedly higher, so you’ll want to act sooner rather than later to lock in a mortgage rate that will enable you to buy the home of your dreams.