The housing market in Lawrenceville can pretty much be summed up as follows: If you’re buying, jump in! If you’re selling, good luck with that.
What’s happening here is the same story across the country, but in some cases, it's worse. "Metro Atlanta is leading in home depreciation compared with the rest of the country." says Rodney Camren, a consultant for Star Team Atlanta Realty. How low? Right now, you can get homes for 40 cents on the dollar. Mike Healy, an associate broker for REMAX Center says, "Prices have dropped 7-10% in the last year alone and an average of 30-35% since the housing market peak in 2006-2007."
If you break that down by county, Lawrenceville is leading Gwinnett in the number of foreclosures. “The builders came in, they built a lot of things very quickly and a lot of loans were given to people who could not afford them and so they’re able to actually walk away from it and go right back to apartment living." said Camren. According to Trulia.com, as of Jan.19 there were 3,271 foreclosures on the market in Lawrenceville and 3,931 homes for sale. Camren predicts the numbers will go up. "There are a lot of foreclosures that haven’t even hit the system yet that are in the pipeline. "
Despite the gloomy forecast, if you're looking for a home, it's a great time to buy. Mortgage rates are low and prices have fallen, however, due to the market uncertainty, many would-be buyers remain on the fence and are more content to rent. The first test as a buyer is getting through to a bank. They are more strict about handling loans than they were a couple of years ago. "You’ve got some people who previously could buy, but now they can’t get qualified because the banks are being extremely strict in terms of their requirements.” says Healy.
Trulia.com reports the average listing price for a home in Lawrenceville at $145,910. If you want to buy, here's some advice from the experts on what to do:
HEALY: "Get to a bank as fast as possible. If you’re qualified, great! Go look. If you’re not, just find out what you need to do to get yourself qualified because I’ve never seen a market like this. I don’t know anybody who has."
CAMREN: "Be careful about the newer subdivisions. Some of them only have a few homes in there and they still have 200 lots that are sitting there. If you’re a buyer, I would not go into those because there’s too much uncertainty. You don’t even know if you’re going to have a homeowners association. Fannie Mae has the best product out there. They assist you with closing costs. They go in, clean it up... some of these other foreclosures and short sales are as is and have not been repaired."
HEALY: "Don’t, unless you have to! It’s just a horrible time to sell. Unless you really have to sell, you’re going to take a big loss. You’re competing with banks who are selling foreclosures, so if you’re an individual, the bank is going to drop their prices until the property sells."
CAMREN: “If you’re trying to sell right now, you need to be able to compete with the foreclosures and the short sales that are on the market right now and you need to do research and get ahead of the market.”