Foreclosures attracting investors to Henry, Clayton counties

Atlanta Business Chronicle – by Deborah Held Maslia Contributing writer
Friday, March 30, 2007

South metro trends are following national trends with homes in foreclosure on the rise, due to the glut of alternative financing deals made several years ago by subprime lenders in particular.

Although Realtors benefited from these alternative lending practices and home buyers were able to realize the American dream of ownership, lenders and homeowners alike are feeling the pinch.

“Lenders are going out of business,” said Sandra McCrary, managing broker of RE/MAX Advantage.

Worse, homeowners, with little to no equity in their properties, are losing their homes, as they face impending balloon payments or rising interest rates resulting in unaffordable monthly payments.

“Foreclosure sales are huge,” said McCrary, and are especially attractive to investors.

According to Georgia Multiple Listing Service listings as of March 12, Henry County had 3,937 properties listed on the market, with an average listing price of $258,192 and an average of 100 days on the market. In Clayton County, with 3,668 properties listed at an average price of $154,273, the average days on the market is 96. The average sale price of homes in Henry County is $206,780 and $134,460 in Clayton County. In both counties, there are niche neighborhoods with prices into the $1 million range.

New-home sales are also healthy, as the pristine look of a new home wins out over that of a resale for many buyers.

“A house must be in top-notch shape,” said McCrary, especially when it is a resale.

Although new homes and foreclosures are the trend, “the bargain is the foreclosure,” McCrary said.

Founded in 1957 to service Atlanta’s southside Realtors, the Metro South Association of Realtors (MSAR) boasts a roster of 2,336 members as the association celebrates 50 years in business.

MSAR comprises 191 member companies and 28 affiliated offices.

On Feb. 23, MSAR announced its 2006 Circle of Excellence members at its annual banquet, held at the Georgia Aquarium. More than 750 Realtors and family members were in attendance for what is formally known as the Million Dollar Club.

Prior to the award ceremony, more than 150 attendees enjoyed a private tour of the aquarium facilities.

In 2006, 98 individual agent members sold more than $1 million net in residential real estate transactions, while various team formations sold from $3 million to $22 million, with one team topping out at a historic $107 million in net sales transactions.

Created from a weekly roundtable discussion among 12 Clayton County real estate men in the mid-1950s, the Realtors turned their gatherings into the formal organization known as the Clayton County Real Estate Board. In April 1957, the board was accepted as a member of the Georgia Association of Real Estate Boards. In May 1957, the board was chartered by the National Association of Real Estate Boards.

MSAR services Realtors mainly in Henry and Clayton counties, but also those in Butts, Fayette and some of Spalding County as well.

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