Buying or selling a home in 2017: What to know

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Buying or selling a home in 2017: What to know

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Quality not quantity is a top consideration in 2017.

When it comes to buying a home in Atlanta in 2017, there's one quality buyers want above all. Coldwell Banker Atlanta's Top Previews International Luxury Property Specialist Marc Castillo said he believes the biggest single factor will be about location.

"In Atlanta in particular, this will be true because the traffic is getting worse," Castillo said. "You can expect it to accelerate when we factor in all the high density construction occurring in Midtown and Buckhead."

More people moving in

There are thousands of rental units coming online in 2017 and that means more people moving to the area. Add to that the number of commercial towers completed in 2017, and Castillo said that means new workers coming to these areas will add to highway congestion.

"Anyone who commutes on Peachtree, Spring and Juniper Streets will attest to the increasing traffic," Castillo observed. "It is pretty safe to say that any area within a 30-minute crawl to Midtown and Buckhead will see increased demand in the real estate market."

He also pointed to real estate on the market with access to a MARTA train line. This will continue to see good demand and that includes areas like Inman Park, Candler Park, Edgewood and Brookhaven.

Castillo said increased demand will drive up home prices in intown neighborhoods with a good location. Communities like Old Fourth Ward, The Virginia Highlands, West Midtown and Downtown are all seeing in upswing in demand.

The rental market effect

More than the traffic, Castillo said he is concerned about the rental market affecting homebuying since so many rental units are coming online at the same time. This can be bad news for homeowners looking to sell.

"A glut of rentals would be a welcome relief to many who found the rental market unreasonably tight this year," he said. "But an increase in rental inventory may have a cooling effect on condos. In a tight rental market, renters start to see a benefit in buying as a relief to high rental prices."

However, millennials, who don't like to be tied down, may not have considered buying a home anyway.

Would-be homebuyers should also consider that metro home prices were up at the end of last year too. With that increase it is also worth considering rising mortgage rates in the new year.

A home shortage

Currently Atlanta suffers from a shortage of townhomes, bad news for homebuyers who want something smaller.

"This is currently an underserved segment of the market made up of buyers who are downsizing from a single-family home," he explained. "Even as this market downsizes they still have many legacy pieces and aren't yet ready to completely downsize to condo living."

Areas where the town home property is selling fast include Old Fourth Ward, Inman Park, Reynoldstown and Morningside and the Piedmont Corridor. Castillo said these areas continue to surprise because of the lofty numbers being sold.

"We could never have guessed that just a few years ago," he concluded. "The combination of good square footage with low maintenance living is a big draw. After all, bigger is not better anymore and with our Atlanta summers it's just more to cool and maintain."

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