Steady and stable.
That’s the takeaway from the 2014 housing market report released Monday by the Georgia Association of Realtors.
With the local economy improving — job growth and productivity are up — the housing market is beginning to return to form. Inventory is down and sales prices are up.
“It has been another recovery year in 2014, but not the same as 2013,” the report states. “With a broad pattern of rising prices and a stable-to-improving inventory, the market has shifted from being drastically under-supplied to approaching equilibrium.”
New listings increased 5.1 percent across the state in December, with pending sales up more than 22 percent. Interest rates also remain low.
The average sales price for homes across the state last year increased 12.6 percent to about $208,000, according to the report. The median sales price jumped 14.2 percent to about $164,000.
Home sales and prices trickled up in 2014 across Hall County, but those figures are also still catching up to prerecession levels.
The median sales price in 2007 was $179,000 versus just $170,000 in 2014, according to local listings. And the average sales price in 2007 was $243,000 versus $216,000 in 2014.
Other challenges are still facing the market.
“Factors such as inadequate mortgage liquidity, stagnant wage growth and student loan debt have served as impediments to both first-time and move-up buyers,” the report states.
All in all, however, Realtors said they believe 2015 will be the best year for home sales since the recession ended.
“The metrics to watch in 2015 include days on market, percent of list price received and absorption rates, as these can offer deeper and more meaningful insights into the future direction of housing,” the report states.
At his annual Native Intelligence report this month, local real estate executive Frank Norton Jr. said North Georgia should strive to become a “second-home mecca” for affluent Atlantans seeking weekend escape.
With that in mind, lakefront homes could be the next beneficiary of an improving residential real estate market.
“Since prices have risen, the affordability picture isn’t what it was in 2012 or 2013, though affordability remains above its long-term average,” the report states.