According to the Real Estate Mortgage Network in Kennesaw, the average mortgage rate in Cobb County is 3.75 percent for a 30-year fixed rate loan and 3 percent with zero points for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage. The national average rates are 3.67 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate loan and 2.94 percent for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. The rates are the lowest since World War II.
“Mortgage rates are definitely in favor of the consumer right now,” said Jeffrey Conn, branch manager for Real Estate Mortgage Network. “Customers still feel like it’s a buyers’ market, so they’re looking for good deals. I see pockets, mostly in some east Cobb neighborhoods, across the county where inventory has dried up and there might be bidding war on a property. There’s a lot of value to be had with the homes available.”
John Hunt, an analyst for Marietta-based Smart Numbers Inc., which provides residential real estate information for brokers, builders, and mortgage and banking professionals, said that as supplies go down, housing prices should trend up.
According to Smart Numbers, the inventory of all existing homes in Cobb — new and resale — is down to about five months’ worth of supply, whereas seven to eight months is normal. Last year, it was 11 months of supply.
“If you trend the months of supply, you’ll find that detached homes peaked at about 14 months worth of supply in 2008, so to be down to 4.9 percent in Cobb right now is pretty dramatic,” Hunt said. “The drop in supply is giving us a little optimism, finally, after six years of a nasty downturn.”
The optimistic news for the housing market is that home prices should continue to trend up.
“For the first time in 14 months, the price of a home (in the metro area) for a resale in April and May was positive, year-over-year last year,” Hunt said.
That’s just what Cobb Realtors such as Krystine Torella, an associate broker with Keller Williams Cityside, want to hear.
“With inventory being lower, the (Cobb) housing market is slowly shifting. The first five months of this year have seen the strongest sales for many developers in years, and now, new home, condo and townhome inventory is reaching an all-time low,” Torella said.
According to SmartNumbers, the total number of new and resale homes sold in Cobb County over the past 12 months is 8,942. That includes 7,436 detached homes, 1,206 townhomes and 300 condos.
And the Cobb housing market continues to compare favorably to its metro neighbors. Acadia Homes & Neighborhoods, for example, reports selling 44 homes so far this year, up from 35 in all of last year.
“The Cobb market compares well to surrounding areas like north Fulton, Cherokee and Forsyth,” said Sam Bass, vice president of sales and marketing. “There is good and consistent traffic, and interest.”
Michael J. Pallerino has reported on business news for magazines and newspapers in the Atlanta area for more than 20 years.