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Fayette home prices in deep slump

The average sales price of a home sold this year in Fayette County is slightly less than $230,000. If that’s a surprise, read on.

There’s a reason the Fayette County tax digest is falling in value. Information from the Georgia Multiple Listing Service shows that the number of sales of single-family homes in Fayette has been falling sharply since 2007 along with the average list price and the average sale price.

Here’s a summary:

• Average sales price for all Fayette homes sold has dropped 27 percent — $84,875 — since 2007, four years ago when the Great Recession began.

• Sales price drops are stark: With year-to-year decreases of 5 percent, 10 percent, 4 percent and 10 percent from 2007 to this year respectively, the average closing price of a home sold in Fayette has gone from $314,342 four years ago to a mid-August, 2011, level of $229,468.

• During that same period, average listing prices declined 21.5 percent from a starting point of $388,506 in 2007 to a current (mid-August) low of $304,747.

• One out of every four homes changing hands this year sold for under $100,000.

• The actual number of homes sold this year is on track to be about half the number sold just four years ago, along with dramatically lower prices.

• Half of all Fayette homes put on the market don’t sell before the listing contract with the real estate broker expires.

The information relating to home sales and prices was sourced from the Georgia Multiple Listing Service and provided by Realtor Leslie Edwards.

Those data show that there were 1,537 homes sold in Fayette County in 2007. Those homes carried an average list price of $388,506 and an average sale price of $314,342, a difference of $74,164, or 19 percent under list.

By mid-August of this year, things had changed significantly, with 577 homes sold and carrying an average list price of $304,747 and an average sale price of $229,468. That’s a difference of $75,279, or nearly 25 percent.

Of the 577 homes sold so far in 2011, 152 sold for under $100,000 and carried an average sales price of $69,674. Those sales were the result of either foreclosures or short sales.

The downward trend was evident beginning in 2008. The 1,537 homes sold in 2007 decreased to 1,081 home sales in 2008 followed by 1,043 in 2009, 970 in 2010 and 577 by mid-August this year.

The average list and sale prices also saw a similar decline.

The average list price of $388,506 in 2008 dropped slightly to $380,569 in 2008 and to $363,083 in 2009. In 2010 the average list price fell to $346,118 and, to date this year, carries a price of $304,747.

Average sale prices showed that the $314,342 level in 2007 dropped to $297,239 in 2008 and to $266,228 in 2009. In 2010 the average sale price decreased to $255,183 and dropped to $229,468 in 2011.

Also of note was the percentage of homes where the sales contract expired without a sale. That figure over the past several years averages approximately 50 percent.

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