Local real estate agents say Cobb market improving
by Kathryn Malone
kmalone@mdjonline.com
April 02, 2011 11:05 PM | 1934 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Jim Alexander, senior vice president and managing broker at Harry Norman Realtors’ Marietta/Cobb office, and real estate agent Cathy Colquitt stand outside a home listed for sale at 3900 Paul Samuel Road NW in Kennesaw on Thursday.<br>Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan
MARIETTA - Local real estate agents say the Cobb County housing market seems to be on the uptick for the first part of the year, and that county sales are fairing better than sales throughout Metro Atlanta.

According to data from Trendgraphix, in January and February of 2011 there were 727 homes sold in Cobb - compared to 657 homes sold in the same time period in 2010, which is an increase of more than 10 percent.

"I kind of equate it to coming out of hibernation," said Harry Norman real estate agent Cathy Colquitt. "I think the market just went to sleep, closed down for a while, and now everyone's waking up to the fact that people still want to buy, people still want to sell."

Colquitt, a Marietta native who has been selling homes in the area for more than 25 years, said she has probably doubled her sales numbers compared to this time last year.

"The only downside that I'm seeing to anything right now is obviously the house values not being what they were and appraisals being incredibly difficult," she said. "Loans are harder to come by, but it's still happening."

Both Colquitt and Jim Alexander, the senior vice president and managing broker for Harry Norman's Marietta/Cobb office, said they have seen a change recently in the market in that people are now less hesitant to put their homes up for sale.

"I think people now are just thinking, 'I waited, what good did that do me?' I'm going to jump back out there," Colquitt said.

Alexander agreed: "There's a real change in the market. It has been out of necessity in the past few years, but now, there's such pent-up demand of people that want to buy a house that they're ready to rock and roll because they see all of the great deals out there now."

In Cobb County, sales are up 15 percent from December 2010 through February 2011 compared to December 2009 to February 2010, while in all of metro Atlanta, sales are actually down about .3 percent in that same time period, according to Trendgraphix.

Colquitt said she thinks the Cobb market might be bouncing back quicker because of all the area has to offer.

"You've got the wonderful Marietta Square, that's a hub for the community and for activity that draws young people who would normally like to be in the fun parts of Atlanta, but can't afford it," she said. "They still get that urban feeling by coming out around the Marietta Square. Those who like a little more wide-open spaces are going out into west Cobb. We still have great schools, lower property taxes and just a good infrastructure."

While housing prices are down to where they were in 2000 and 2001, both Colquitt and Alexander say that now is the perfect time for first-time buyers.

"It is a buyer's market, which means that there's never been a better time to buy," Alexander said. "There are a lot of people out there who are earning a great living and living in an apartment and they're saying, 'now is a great time to buy.'"

Since it is such a buyer's market, Colquitt said home sellers have to work especially hard to make their home look appealing. They also have to offer their home for the right price.

"I am finding that sellers have a bigger responsibility to make their houses more sellable, realistic pricing and preparing their homes for sale," Colquitt said. "They're dressing up their homes or they're really showcasing their homes more to be competitive for the market."

Even if sellers aren't making as much as they want on their homes, Colquitt said, the good thing about it is they're making up for it on the buying end.

"I just think people are waking up and realizing nobody even knows how long it could be before it's back where it was, but people don't want to wait that long," she said. "So they're going out and when they sell they may not get exactly what they want, but they'll make it up on the other end."
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