You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Higher rates? Slower Atlanta home sales, forecast says

For metro Atlanta’s housing market, 2017 will be a year of growing modestly, according to a forecast released today by a California-based data firm.

Atlanta prices on average will rise 5.93 percent while sales will increase just 2.67 percent, making it the 60th hottest market out of the largest 100 metro areas, according to

The forecast for decelerating growth is less upbeat than before the election because Donald Trump’s victory seemed to trigger a rise in interest rates that will make mortgages more expensive. And that will chill the ability of some buyers – especially first-time entrants into the market – to close the deal, said Jonathan Smoke, the company’s chief economist.

Higher mortgage rates will clash with rising demand from millennial buyers – cutting the number of people who will be purchasers, he said.

“We don’t expect the outcome of the election to have a direct impact on the health of the housing market or economy as we close out 2016, said Smoke. However, “with more than 95 percent of first-time home buyers dependent on financing their home purchase, and a majority of first-time buyers reporting one or more financial challenges, the uptick we’ve already seen may price some first-timers out of the market.”

Interest rates will likely hit 4.5 percent, while national home prices rise just 3.9 percent, he said.

The homeownership rate – which crested at nearly 70 percent at the peak of the housing boom – will flatten out at 63.5 percent, Smoke predicted. The rate had dropped to 62.9 percent this year. The difference between top and bottom represents millions of households that would have been homeowners at the higher rate.

Among the factors Smoke highlighted for the coming year:

Millennials and boomers will dominate the market. Higher interest rates mean a lower-than-expected share of millennial buyers, just 33 percent of the purchasers. In contrast, baby boomers, who are less dependent on financing, will account for about 30 percent.

— Midwestern cities will be hotbeds for millennials, Smoke said. Top destinations will include Madison, Wis., Columbus, Ohio, Omaha, Neb. and Des Moines, Iowa.

Housing tends to be more affordable in those cities.

— Price appreciation will slow. Nationally, prices were up about 4.9 percent this year.

— Fewer homes will be on the market — an imbalance that has particularly plagued much of the metro Atlanta market.

— The fastest rise in prices and sales will be in western cities, especially in California, Colorado, Arizona and Utah.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Punch Bowl Social to join Braves’ Battery lineup at SunTrust Park
Punch Bowl Social to join Braves’ Battery lineup at SunTrust Park

The Atlanta Braves and their development partners have shuffled the food and entertainment lineup a bit outside the new SunTrust Park with a new social club concept that includes celebrity chef Hugh Acheson as a partner. The Braves said Tuesday that Punch Bowl Social, a games and fine dining concept, will join The Battery entertainment district in...
Airplane etiquette survey: Seat-kicking is worst behavior
Airplane etiquette survey: Seat-kicking is worst behavior

Since there’s nothing worse than being stuck with annoying seatmates for hours on a long flight, in an annual survey asks travelers to call out the most aggravating behaviors in the air. The biggest violator is the “Rear Seat Kicker,” according to the survey of 1,005 people commissioned by Expedia and conducted by market...
7 ways to be calmer, more mature and more productive at work
7 ways to be calmer, more mature and more productive at work

I was recently in a business meeting with two men who disagreed on a plan of action. Is this uncommon in the workplace? No. Can it be uncomfortable? Um, definitely … especially when egos get involved. Everyone else in the room braced themselves while the two executives faced off with their wildly different opinions. But to our surprise, the...
UPDATE: Metro Atlanta housing basics good, prices up, but listings are down
UPDATE: Metro Atlanta housing basics good, prices up, but listings are down

In the past year, the metro Atlanta housing market has kept moving forward by most measures – but the exceptions are enough to give pause. For sure, the median prices of homes sold has continued to rise, steadily if not spectacularly, by nearly all surveys. According to Re/Max Georgia, for example, the median Atlanta home price last month...
Big business, major centers of influence in Rep. John Lewis’ district
Big business, major centers of influence in Rep. John Lewis’ district

President-elect Donald Trump in a tweet early Saturday morning criticized Georgia Rep. John Lewis’ district as “in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested).” Trump tweeted that Lewis “should spend more time on fixing and helping his district,” after Lewis said he would not attend Trump&rsquo...
More Stories