Fiserv Inc., the company behind the benchmark Case-Shiller Index, is predicting home prices to bottom out near the end of 2012. Of course, since the world will also be ending around that time, our celebrations might get cut a little short.
According to the report, home prices dropped in 302 of the 384 US markets tracked during the first quarter of 2011. Unfortunately, Case-Shiller's also foresees prices continuing to slide for the rest of the year. Atlanta foreclosures are down 16% compared to the first half of last year, but we still have a high inventory compared to the rest of the country. There's also an ominous inventory of foreclosures that won't be processed until next year.
Consumers remain skittish, and who can blame them? The economy's stuck in neutral, there's frustration on both sides with Washington politics, and Europe and Asia keep putting everyone on edge. The 2010s sure are starting off with a pessimistic streak. No wonder 90s nostalgia reigns these days!
Affordability is one silver lining, as the average home is only 5 percent more expensive than it was in 2000. And interest rates are the lowest they've been all year long. In addition, metro Atlanta income growth was up 2.4% last year, although that excludes the real estate and construction industries (whomp whomp). Needless, to say, it's not a bad place to be for buyers. The backlog of Atlanta homes might be decreasing, but there's still plenty to choose from. If you've got a steady job, aren't saddled with an unsold house, and can convince the bank to lend, you could be in a nice position to purchase.