Many see the cool-off of real estate during the final month of the fourth quarter or the first months of the first quarter as a normal lull the housing market. However, that’s definitely not the case for Cobb County, where housing prices continue to rise.
2022 Is Having a Slow but Solid Start in Cobb County
The COVID pandemic had a drastic impact on the jobs of many. This was also combined with the “Great Resignation”—the term for the millions of workers who have quit their jobs with the intention of finding better work or leaving the job force entirely. However, these factors have had an extremely beneficial reaction to the housing market. To begin with, housing prices have been going up in almost every market across the country. Sellers aren’t having a hard time getting the prices they want. Rather, buyers are starting bids sometimes $50,000 (or even $100,000) over asking price because of such competition.
The Median Sold Price
Cobb County’s market saw homes rise in price not only compared to this time last year, but also in comparison to Q4 of 2021. The median sold price for homes in Q4 of 2021 was $375,000. The first quarter saw that median price go from $375,000 to $386,000, a modest rise of just under 3%. However, the real change should be noted in Q1 prices from 2021 to 2022. The median price at that time was $332,268. That means, over the course of a year, the average home has risen in value by 13 percent.
With all medians, though, it is important to realize that homes in certain areas of Cobb County are much more likely to continue to rise in value through the coming months, while others may have cooled slightly or even stagnated. Real estate holders in Cobb County should look at nearby comparables to determine whether their specific market is seeing the same price increase, more, or less.
The Number of Homes Sold
The number of homes sold in Cobb County has decreased from both the previous quarter and this time last year. The number of homes sold in Q1 in 2022 was 2,677, down 20% from the 3,283 sold in the previous quarter. The true decrease is less sharp when compared with the previous year’s Q1. Q1 of 2021 sold 2,966 houses, a gap of fewer than 200 homes (or about 10% less).
While this is the perfect time for sellers to realize that the nearby market of Atlanta remains very fierce, some buyers will definitely be put off by the cutthroat competition they’ll be facing. The difficulty of acquiring a home in the city may drive some buyers to expand their desired commute range and to go for a house outside of the city. The recent addition of partially or fully remote positions allows those with jobs attached to certain cities to buy homes farther from the city to make only an occasional commute. In addition, the knowledge that home building has dwindled away to nearly nothing is key. 20 million new homes were built each year from 1950 until the market crash in 2009. Since then, only a total of 5.7 million new homes have been added to the market.
The Median Days on the Market
Cobb County has maintained a steady median for days on market through last year and into the first quarter of 2022. Q1 of 2021 saw the average days on market of just one week. That number was still the same by the fourth quarter of 2021, and it hasn’t changed during the first quarter of 2022. This indicates that the competition for homes remains consistent, that there isn’t a true drop in the market, and that motivated buyers are still saturating a market with even fewer homes than were present last year.
The Current Mortgage Rates
The mortgage rates for Cobb County are 4.80% for a 30-year mortgage, a rise from early rates of 3-4% this time last year. However, these mortgage rates are still historically low in comparison to previous years. This means that both investors and first-time homeowners will seek to make use of these interest rates before they go even higher. For sellers, this means they can continue to see rising prices with the same, if not shorter, sale time. Inflation may also play a part in causing others to invest in real estate, which has seen returns that keep up with or surpass the rate of inflation.
The Overall Future of the Market
The second quarter in Cobb County will likely function much as it has over the last two years. Fewer homes simply mean more competition for what is for sale and less picky buyers. That means that even those who want to sell but are concerned with the condition or quality of their home, can list the house with confidence. In addition, lack of availability in other counties surrounding Cobb County may well drive in some new buyers to supplement those who have lost interest or who have already bought a home.
In short, Q2 should offer a strong continuation of the real estate season for Cobb County. Homes have sold within the same consistent amount of time, indicating that there is still a high number of driven buyers. If you are a seller, you can still command a good price for your home and settle things as quickly as you’d like. If you are a buyer, you will need to be more competitive in your approach and find ways to have the best offer. It is vital that buyers and sellers discuss the market conditions prior to moving forward with a move.
Buyers need to have a clear understanding of how to prepare and then what a winning offer looks like in this market. Sellers need to ask their agent about their options, especially if they need the funds from the sale of their current home. Contingencies are rarely accepted so what are the other options for a seller who wants to buy. There are some bridge loan-type products as well as rent backs and other options. Again, call me to discuss the details of this market and how to make it work in your favor.