Beacham Insider: Buckhead, Alpharetta Sales Outperform Market Again in January

Atlanta (March 2009) - In January, several Beacham Bellwether areas continued to stave off the large year-over-year declines in single family home sales experienced by rest of the Atlanta market which was down 8%.

Single family home sales in Alpharetta-West including parts of Roswell remained exactly the same as a year ago (44), while closings in Atlanta’s intown neighborhoods of Ansley Park, Midtown, Morningside and Virginia Highlands were off by just three sales (21). In Buckhead, sales were down by only two sales (39) from January 2008. Had there been three more closings in January it would have the third time in the last five months that sales in Buckhead were up from from the previous year, perhaps signaling sales there have reached the bottom.

Condo and townhome sales finished in positive territory in Alpharetta-West (+43%) and Atlanta-Intown (+8%). Sales in Decatur/West DeKalb were flat. Overall, condo and townhome sales were down 22% in January. Home prices continued to come under pressure in January with single family prices in metro Atlanta down 25% from the same month a year ago. Prices in the Beacham Bellwether index were down almost as much at 23%.

There were some bright spots when it came to prices, however. For single family home sales, the area of Buckhead north of Chastain Park experienced a 25% increase in the average sales price from a year ago due primarily to new home sales. Sales were up by one closing as well. For condo and townhome sales, the news was even better. The following areas all enjoyed positive year-over-year average sales price appreciation: Alpharetta-East (+2%), Smyrna/Vinings (+13%), Brookhaven-DeKalb/Chamblee (+19%), and Dunwoody (+36%) and East Atlanta (+104%). Despite the results in these areas, the Beacham Bellwether condo and townhome price index was down 6% overall while metro Atlanta condo an townhome prices were down 12% in January. The data clearly shows how important pricing is in the current real estate environment. In fact, overall metro Atlanta pricing is at late 1990s levels. The average sales price for a single family home in metro Atlanta was $181,799 in January. The last time the average was that low in metro Atlanta was February 1999. A recent Case- Schiller index of national home prices indicated that a recovery in home prices was not likely to occur until late 2009.