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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.



suggarfoot's picture

They just voted to raise our taxes over the loud nay saying of Brown and a few in wheelchairs saying they could pay no more taxes on their houses. (WHICH AS THE STORY SAYS..HAVE/ARE GOING DOWN IN VALUE..but the the taxes are going up on them thanks to Horgan, Hearn, and Frady)

Lord help us if they get any smarter!

Not only are they they have no remorse, they have no pity, compassion, or love of man or God...just love of the dollar and the family land trust.

BHH's picture

and that was to put the storm water fees on hold.

They also should have halted the 911 communications center upgrades until a future date.


Robert W. Morgan's picture

Incomplete reporting, Ben. One simple extra step would have made this a positive story instead of doom and gloom, although gloom and doom was probably the intent. One simple step, very little extra work - ask Leslie (who certainly knows) how the Fayette numbers compare to other counties - specifically Clayton and Henry. We would then learn that while there has been a decline in sales and price everywhere (hardly new news), Fayette's price decline at least is much better than other counties. Digging a bit deeper would also reveal that Fayette has much less bank-owned inventory that other counties - and that is significant because the panicky banks are what is actually causing the problem.

Maybe a follow-up comparison report would be in order if you all think we can handle some positive news in the middle of a recession. Of course the recession is almost over since Prezbo is creating thousands of union construction jobs and they will probably build something - maybe more houses we don't need or some MARTA lines running where we don't want or some office buildings for expanding government.

Live free or die!

BHH's picture

They are responsible for the property taxes due on every property in their inventory for every month that goes by.

Talk about breaking the bank.

The failures have not yet begun.


Robert W. Morgan's picture

It wasn't my main point, which was Fayette is in better shape than most and Peachtree City even more so, but you are correct - the banks have huge expenses with taxes and property repairs and legal fees associated with each house they foreclose on. And the so-called "shadow inventory" which are houses in default but not yet foreclosed are the real bulge in the python that will make 2008 and 2009 look tame.

Nothing short of putting their houses in the rental market will solve that problem. The banks foreclose, they need (or want) a quick sale, realtors know nothing about marketing, staging, positioning, creative financing or much else, but they sure know how to get a bank to lower their price for a quick give-away sale (that carrys a full commission) and they do that again and again and again which lowers everyone's price.

Until the banks realize they are in the real estate business long-term, the cycle will continue and there will be no recovery. In fact some banks need to come to grips with the fact they are about to be in the homebuilding business as well. Oddly, banks immediately create an adversarial relationship with the few professional realtors, developers and homebuilders and try to squeeze them for personal assets instead of hiring them for their expertise. Of course most bankers don't think long-term because they know when their own bank will fail and they are just treading water until then. Sad, really sad.

Live free or die!

for less money than I have selling foreclosures....short sales, etc. It is tough (but it's tough on most everyone right now) and I've been working in this business since the early 80's.

That said, still grinding.

This has been a nasty business since 2007. Still thousands to go in Georgia alone.
Are most of the Realtor's offices making money teaching people how to be an agent when there is little for them to sell?

It sure boomed though in the late 90s and until about 2007.
Prices were so high that an agent could make a living selling 3-5 homes in a whole year. Brokers got rich.

I respect you for having that kind of patience with so few daily rewards.

I couldn't do it, nor sell autos---a lot of hype by owners and little sales.

mudcat's picture

And the answer kitty is here to help.
You asked
"Are most of the Realtor's offices making money teaching people how to be an agent when there is little for them to sell?"

Stange as it may seem when business is down, the real estate offices are pushing hard to enroll people in real estate school - so they can charge tuition. And then they push hard for them to affiliate with their company - so they can charge them monthly fees. The worst and most expensive is Keller Williams followed closely by Coldwell Banker. Re/Max used to have some horrendous fees, but they are pretty much all gone.

Those companies could care less about their agents selling houses - it is all about the fees. Prudential and Harry Norman have reasonable fees, good leadership and decent agent for support. Most smart agents go to transaction based companies where they receive 100% commission and then pay a few hundred dollars off the top on each transaction and no monthly fees except for MLS. That's all there will be left in a couple of years.

Fees, fees, fees, off the top, etc., that sounds like our Banks now!

With a national database, isn't all we need an office with people with keys to show us just the ones we want to see?

Then a couple of "experts" to fill out the paperwork at the office.

A strange, large town may need a (show) person to answer questions about parts of town.

without a doubt.

BHH's picture

the banks just stopped foreclosing until this economy picks up?


mudcat's picture

It would help keep prices stable and actually hasten the recovery if banks would stop foreclosing on everything they can. I have been told that it is better for the banks (and their own recovery) to write off the loss on the loans and get the house off their books as quickly as they can. Of course if all the banks do the same thing, values decline with each sale and the whole thing looks like a race to the bottom.

Now if Prezbo or someone else wanted to actually help the situation, he would restrict the banks to a minimal number of foreclosures each month and insist that they recast mortgages to reflect the new and lower value of the home - which would result in lower payments. This would keep homeowners in their homes and would stabilize the values. Now if that sounds familiar, that's what he said he was going to do 2 years ago, but there was no teeth in the legislation nor was there any kind of tax credit or other incentive for the banks to actually do this. End result was 35,000 mortgages recast nationwide vs. the 4 million promised. Government is not very good at this sort of thing.

And of course government regulation on banks which is getting worse by the day because of the anti-banking and anti-business climate fostered by the hate-monger-in-chief prevents the banks from renting out foreclosed properties and covering their costs until they can resell it at a higher price - maybe even to the renter who would have 3 or so years to recover from a foreclosure. But no, banks are not allowed to do that, so they dump the houses and everybody's values decline.

Common sense would tell you that there is a direct relationship between the number of empty foreclosed properties and the number of foreclosed/evicted homeowners who have unwillingly became renters. Doesn't renting those houses to them seem to be a solution?

There are many things wrong with banks renting out foreclosures.
First, they don't even own most of them, the government owns over half.

Then there are those that were sold by banks to investment companies who bundled them and sold them to others, then insured them with AIG and foreclosures made them go broke before they could pay off the insurance guarantee.

Many home Deeds are actually lost in those bundles somewhere. Many are illegal anyway since they were signed by ROBOTS. Some people are still living in their home and haven't paid a dime in 2-3 years. The accumulated overdue interest would now be worth more the house, not even counting the mortgage money!

There is no way to kick those people out without producing a legal deed?

Now as to the part that if banks quit foreclosing on the few they are responsible for---they don't even want to foreclose on them. The federal government only makes them do a few at a time to try and stop a "run," on the banks. Every notice it has been only 2-3 banks every week or two lately foreclosed upon?

Banks can not handle rentals!! Cost them more to contract out the rental contracts, repairs, taxes, etc., than to write them off. Also the FDIC is now suing many of the banks for having to pay out billions to save the bank and sell it to another bank at a discount.

On top of all that, a high percentage of the "empty" foreclosures are in poor condition, having been foraged for wiring and fixtures---stripped right out of the walls. Even many have no windows.

There are many banks yet to go broke. There are many homes yet to be foreclosed upon!
You can Prezbo all you want, but he didn't make this mess and you can't save BUSH by trying to do so. Most large Finance companies were crooks and banks weren't regulated properly.

suggarfoot's picture

"Most large Finance companies were crooks and banks weren't regulated properly."

They still aren't. I think all the politicans are crooks! During the Bush administration, they took off the last few laws/rules that protected the homeowners.

Gort's picture

Suggarfoot, the neglect of the Bush Administration lives on. The Republican controlled house refuses to properly staff or fund the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. The Republicans want you believe the only way interstate banks can earn a profit is if they are allowed to cheat their customers.

In Georgia over 70 banks closed since the financial crisis started. We’re number two behind Florida! Our state banking regulators didn’t do such a great job either. Thank God for the FDIC or we would be toast.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote for the Democrat.

suggarfoot's picture

I was told the banks are making money off the foreclosures...Money from Us!

Have you read how BA is foreclosing on everyone in site..? Well I was told by a loan officer at a smaller bank and someone that works for a group trying to help people keep their homes... it goes like this.

You owe 200 own your house. BA gets you in their 'making home afforadable' deal. What happens next is they lower your payment while they are trying to get you a lower interest rate. They leave these people in this limbo program for as much as 2 years. In the mean time they are tacking on penalties and interest. What happens next is they work it up till the person is owing much much more than the house is worth. They won't work with the people at all and it is intentional. What they do is goose the price up with late charges...more penalites..etc till they get it up to 240,000. The person knows the house isn't worth that and walks away.

What happens next is that they foreclose on the house. They then sell it for say 170,000. Lose money? Nope! These loans are fed backed. So they give the gov a bill for the difference between 240,000. and 170,000. Or 70,000. ...and we the US gov, pay the bank 70,000. They are not loosing money. They are making money hand over fist in this manor. This loophole needs to be taken away. They WANT the home owner to move out. They make much more that way and we the taxpayers are picking up the bill.

That is the real reason for all these foreclosures!!!!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

But it was in the context of a failed bank being forced on a solvent bank by the FDIC. Part of the deal is that the solvent bank is kept solvent by the feds subsidizing their losses from the failed bank's bad loans. Makes sense at that level. If the big banks are doing this and getting reimbursed for it on their own loans that they modified as you describe, it should be a huge criminal conspiracy and the bankers and their enablers in government should be jailed and damages awarded to the homeowners who acted in good faith.

Live free or die!

NUK_1's picture

A big bank like Bank of America who bought Countrywide who had 20% of all mortgages in the market at the time are bleeding badly over the bad mortgage/foreclosure issue. In BofA's case, it's causing rumored mass layoffs and losses that are hammering their stock price and making some wonder if the bank is viable. Here's why:

Fannie and Freddie only guarantee a little less than half the mortgages in the market to begin with. Due to the kind and number of loans Countrywide and also BofA had made that were considered "non-conforming"(too large of an amount), about half of their entire mortgage inventory couldn't be sold/guaranteed by Fannie so all those losses-which are very substantial since the loan amounts are very high-are solely on BofA right now.

Also, where the big boys got into serious trouble was trying to securitize these mortgages(a lot of them really bad loans too) by bundling them together and selling them to the other big boys in the financial sector like AIG, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, and other banks. When this market exploded on itself dramatically, these became basically worthless securities. Everyone got holding each others worthless paper. That whole "bundle a bunch of mortgages that can't be guaranteed by the govt and sell them to others" has about ceased to exist which is a killer for a bank like BofA that has so many of these mortgages in their inventory that before they could just sell for $$$ to others.

Prior to the housing disaster, Fannie never got into some of the most idiotic mortgages like "Alt-A" liar loans that basically required little to no proof of income or ability to repay and other sub-prime high-risk loans. Just before the housing bubble blew up, Fannie did start buying some of these, but the majority of these terrible loans aren't on Fannie but on the banks/mortgage lenders themselves.

THe foreclosure crisis is a big drain on any institution that was heavily involved in mortgage lending, from Fannie on down to even the smallest local banks. The kind of loans you are talking about just aren't that high of a number(usually these would be FHA loans originally) for a bank like BofA or Wells Fargo to be profiting off of in the scenario you described in the foreclosure market.

suggarfoot's picture

They are turning a profit, a big one, on foreclosures. They can jack a 200,000. house up to 240,000 n a heartbeat, throw the owner out, sell the house for 170,000 and then give the gov a bill for the 70,000 they 'lost' and we pick up the tab. They make far more money this way than 'servicing' your loan.

They took over Country Wide and I don't know who all else. When the government came forward with the incentives for the banks to modify the loans, this particular bank wasn't interested in helping at all.

I will tell my story so people know the ugly truth about the corruption that is going on and how I became a victim. I had a loan with country wide. When the rates went down, I wanted mine lowered as well. Someone in my family was sick and had no insurance. I gave my last penny to the cause. I had retired from DL and my retirement wasn't much. We were told DL would pay our insurance if we retired. About 2 yrs later they said they couldn't afford it and backed out. Too late, we were already retired.

When I called Country Wide, I got the run around from VERY incompetent people. "you make too much", next one, as God is my witness, "you make too little", "we are only helping people with baloon loans", "we are only helping people with 8.5 and above", "what is wrong with you, you knew you couldn't afford that house", etc.

When BOA took over, only the name changed on the door. The same bunch of lazy, unhelpful, motley crew still answering the phone. That is when the fun began. The new answer came, "we can't help you cause you always paid on if you would just be a few months late...we could help you". My answer was painful. How dare they. I called many times and argued this point with them. In my eyes, they hire the scum of the earth to answer the phones in that department. There was not one intelligent person on the other end of the phone. Finally I called my congressman, Washington Fed housing, etc. I got no where. I was very proud of the fact that through thick and thin, I had always paid on time. I started calling the bank again. "we can't help you cause you always pay on if you were just a few months late.." The last time was the end. I told the person on the phone, I can fix that you SOB. One month late and the paper work for 'making home affordable' rolled in. What a scam that was!

They have ..NO... intention of helping you. When I got the paper work I didn't like it at all. (I want to interject here that in Feb 09, they passed a law if you had been paying on time and asked, they were SUPPOSE TO LOWER YOUR INTEREST RATE....they never told me this, nor did this for me even though they were my loan manager and suppose to.) The paper work would have done a Las Vegas loan shark proud. But they did tell me that within 3-6 months, they would have my loan re done. They didn't. The 1st payment in their program, was on time, but they didn't put it through my bank for another 2 weeks! I called them and they said if it was on time, I wouldn't keep qualifing. What a lie! After that I called it in every month so it would go through electronicly and they would have no choice but to post it on time. Every month when I called it in, I harped, and I do mean harped, on when is this loan going to be modified. Then there was a new answer. " Our loan officers are just sooo buzzzzy. But don't worry...soon, very soon." This went own for 2 years! Finaly, I decided they were crazy and went to a loan broker. He said my income was enough to qualify but they had drug me through this so long that no one would/could touch me. He said that every month they have you in 'making home affordable' they are marking you late and ruining your credit and that no other company will/can touch you because they ruin your credit!!!!!

If you think this is bad, it gets worse. He said they...WILL.. take your house. Go down to the bank itself. (Which in 'making home affordable' they tell you, you can't do) I go down there, I'm crying, I corner a loan officer. She makes calls. They tell her I've been turned down for the government program, that they are looking for a conventional loan for me. I'm amazed. She gives me the name and personal phone number of Joe Blow on the other end. Driving home, I realize the fools have NEVER gotten my fincial info so I couldn't have been turned down. I call Joe Blow's phone number...he isn't there. His supervisor confirms this has never happened..and that their loan officers are just sooo buzzzzy.

Last fall I finally got someone on the phone that agreed to take my finacial info, they sent me a package to fill out. I sent everything back in a sealed FED EX package. THEY LOST HALF THE CONTENTS! I had to resend the same info 3 different times. The last time, I made the so called loan person give me his personal fax number and called him after I sent it.

While I was trying to baby sit the retards that run that department and hand feed them all my info...I get a FORECLOSURE NOTICE!!!

I call BOA...I tell them my paperwork is with an underwriter. Their underwriter, after almost 2 years. That I have paid on time every month in the program. Their response is that every month you are in the program, you are late and they can't have this go own any longer. They are insane! Next, people start calling me because my house is listed in foreclosure in the newspaper. I call BOA and beg hysterically. They tell me this is my fault, I never should have bought the house and they are just following procedure. (This was a supervisor) My house was up to be sold Dec 6. I will never forget it as long as I live. We didn't put up a Christmas tree and I cried every day from morning till night. I made 1-2 calls to BOA EVERY DAY.

Finally, a week before the sale date, I'm told that the sell is called off. Because they have bungled everything else, naturally I don't believe them.

I then called McCalla Raymer LLC who was doing the foreclosure. Nothing less than a lawyer tells me, "yes the sale is off, but it was us, not the bank that called it off. We are a legitimate company and Ga has one of the quickest foreclosure laws on the books. BOA didn't have the right people sign off on your foreclosure. We have contacted BOA and told them it wasn't right and they have done nothing to correct this. Therefore we will not foreclose." I asked the lawyer if it would be reset for Jan. "No, if they won't it foreclosed on, they are going to have to start all over and get the right people to sign off, we have thrown this in the garbage!" I asked him to send me a written letter to this effect, which he did.

So then I start back with the loan officer and about 2 months later they sent me a jaw dropping contact and a 10 day window to sign it. They have tacked on the cost of the illegal foreclosure and everything else they can think of to jack up the price of the house. Thousands and thousands were added to the orignal loan. And oh yes, here came FED Ex with another foreclosure notice just in case I don't want to pay the exta 30-40,000. they have added on.

They want to jack the cost as high as they can, they want you to move out.. They want to sell your house for pennies on the dollar and then collect the difference from the fed gov (US)!! and they do, all the time.

I'm telling you my story because this sort of thing needs to come out. I called 2 US congressmen's office after the last forecloser. WHEN CORNERED...THEY KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. They are letting it go on. This very loophole is holding the whole housing market down. Not to mention a lot of good innocent people losing their house.

After I became so vocal about what happened to me, friends have told me of relatives, good honest people, same story. This keeps going on because these people are too ashamed to tell what happened to them. Believe me, the politicians and the banks do know what is happening and it will keep on till this loophole is closed.

If interested, I kept my house, but I'm upside down. I don't really own my house, the equity is all gone from the jacking up. Nothing would please me more than to take the crooked politican, bank officals, and everyone I talked to at BOA for the 2 years, lock them in one of the branch offices and set it on fire. You couldn't get the smile off my face.

give me a day or two and I can come with some comparable least by the first of next week.

I agree, it all needs to be taken in the proper context. FWIW, I know Leslie well and have for years, I don't have any reason to think her numbers for Fayette are anything but spot on.

grassroots's picture

No Comparison RWM when it comes to future let down. All the developers were banking on Fayette County for their future , not Clayton. We have one of the highest number of Zombie (planned but undeveloped subdivisions) in the state. Just ask John Weiland. Waterlace made national news:, and was slated for over 400 homes and ended with 13. FDIC owns it now. Until the WFB is finished of course.

This paper is the urinal of yellow journalism

Hey guys! I'm a local Realtor and a resident of Fayette County so this topic is near and dear to my heart. I HATE to see negative media about real estate! I know that facts are facts and the market has depreciated significantly, but that is the case across the nation in almost every city, town, and neighborhood. Click the link below to see one of our blog posts from just a few weeks ago about this very topic. We covered Clayton, Fayette, and Henry County in this particular blog, which compares the first quarter to the second quarter of 2011. Fayette County has seen the lowest depreciation of Clayton, Henry, and Fayette and is still a wonderful place to live! As compared to the average sales price in 2nd quarter 2010 vs. second quarter 2011, Clayton depreciated 23.27%, Henry depreciated 12.64%, and Fayette depreciated 8.90%. Fayettes looking pretty good huh? Sure wish this was the headline instead of "Fayette Home Prices in Deep Slump." Truth of the matter is, we're faring better than any surrounding county! (You can click on the graphic to enlarge it to better see the numbers if interested).

I can only speak of my own home's value here in PTC and it has fallen since 2007 by $40,000 dollars as evaluated for tax purposes!
I know some other counties are more because they started at a a lower level than Fayette.

There is a fallacy however with all of these evaluations. If one can not sell their home without giving it away, you keep it. That in reality makes it worth almost zero. No way to be sure that it will ever go back up or further down.

I hate to say it, but it is possible that such jobs as you have (agent) might be severely reduced in the coming years---just as many others are being reduced---all of the drug companies, for instance, are laying off their reps and going to contract companies for that function.

Banks may not be "OPEN" much longer without an appointment at a cost.

Instead of making a middle class of workers again, we may end up with a huge lower wage earner class and a small upper earner class.

We simply have to make products again and stop so much "serving" each other for a living.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

We are much better off than our surrounding counties and it would really be a good idea for the (local) reporter for the (local) paper to present those facts in a follow-up article instead of sticking with the negative and somewhat biased article and the terrible headline. Don't hold your breath, but let's all check the Wednesday paper for that follow-up.

And look at those average sales prices - that tells the story as well.

Hope all is well. I see you left Bullard Realty. Lots of that happening.

Live free or die!

Robert, just curious....trying to place you. I see you noticed I was at Bullard Realty and am now with Better Homes and Gardens Metro Brokers (and loving it). Did we work together? I can't place your name. I know it will come to me. Remind me.


Robert W. Morgan's picture

I was a famous DJ in LA. Doubt you knew me - maybe Mom did.

Live free or die!

Ok, but you still knew I left Bullard and went to Better Homes and Gardens. Still curious as to how some "dead guy" would know that? HAHA. Maybe I should leave well enough alone, the answer my scare me. HAHA.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

One of which is that I know the real names of everyone on here and what they do for a living. Job changes, marriages, divorces, etc. all pop up on my radar screen. Awesome powers but I will never misuse them.

Live free or die!

Cyclist's picture

if you and your good buddy "The Real" Don Steele would have stop puffing those cigs you both probably would still be around today.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

and so many others. I find it really hard to believe that many people still smoke. Mel's mom for one.

Live free or die!

You are getting your leg pulled!

Robert Morgan is a "dead" guy!

Can you expand on how great sales are at Metro Brokers?

Roundabout....not sure what exactly you are looking for as far as how great sales are at Metro Brokers. Better Homes and Gardens Metro Brokers has the largest market share in the Metro Atlanta area. Prudential GA Realty is right behind us with Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, and Solid Source following in that order. From January - June of this year our company had sold over 1400 homes in the Metro Atlanta area according to MLS. Rebekah and I personally have sold over 50 homes this year alone and real estate is still a wonderful investment in our opinion. This years numbers are better than the last two years so we believe real estate is on the rebound....not necessarily prices/values yet, but the overall outlook on the real estate market.

If we aren't doing better than Clayton and Henry counties 365 days a year, every year we're really bad off. I know this is your line of work and all but please don't try to make us feel better because Clayton is worse than we are.

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