NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Staff
Photo: Staff

Atlanta bucks trend: More home loans may mean more first-time buyers

The number of new loans for home purchases has been dropping nationally, but Atlanta is bucking the trend, according to a report Thursday.

Atlanta was one of just five U.S. metro areas where loan originations rose in the first three months of the year, the report by Attom Data Solutions said. The increase was modest, at 2 percent.

This year's property sales outpace last year so, if you're looking to purchase a home, you should pounce because inventory is limited.

But nationally, loan originations fell 30 percent from the same period of 2016, to 1.4 million new loans.

The decline could be a signal that the housing market in general is cooling and that many new buyers are unwilling – or unable – to take the plunge, according to Attom Data, a California-based housing research firm.

Atlanta’s uptick could be a sign of improving conditions for first-time buyers, which has been a weak segment of the housing market.

ATLANTA’S TREND: SUPPLY KEEPS SHRINKING

A stubborn lack of inventory – that is, homes for sale – in metro Atlanta has steadily pushed prices higher, especially on the north side of the city and inner suburbs. Price hikes have consistently outpaced the average rise in incomes.

That makes it harder for first-time buyers to find affordable properties.

SUPPLY OUTPACES DEMAND: PRICES GO UP 

The Attom report also showed the share of buyers who needed a co-signer on the loan has gone up. Often, co-signers are parents. So that measure typically tracks first-time buyers.

For Atlanta, that is another sign of encouragement, suggesting that price hikes haven’t shut first-time buyers out of the Atlanta market so far.

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