When specifically considering 30310 zipcode, I have seen a real slow down in the retail side of the market. There are plenty of investors that want to buy low and then rehab (to various levels) and then rent, but not many people actually looking to purchase a rehabbed house to live in as their primary residence. I have a house in 30310 (Capitol View Manor - a nice neighborhood) that I rehabbed to sell and it has been on the market for more than 6 months. The traffic through the house has been almost non-existent. This specific zipcode was one of the worst for mortgage fraud and foreclosure.
Regarding your question on rental rates...I've seen some reference to supply and demand - Supply going up as people try to rent houses they cannot sell...but what about demand?....I would think that a lot of people lost their homes and now need to rent.
Vicky has a point there...but not all markets are equal here. We had a much slower appreciation in our area than some of the harder hit areas. We should also have a smaller overall decrease in market value.
To help protect our renters from losing their home due to owner foreclosure we have started checking tax records on a monthly basis for our rentals to make sure that the owners are using their rent money to pay their mortgage. We inform them of this when we list their home for rent and also at the signing of any lease.
While we still expect the market to slowly decline this fall and winter season we do not expect prices to "plummet" in our area. We have very good employment and growth in the area that continues to attract new people. New schools are being built right and left. This past August was actually our best month so far this year...and we still have new business carrying over into Sept.
Like Bill said, sales and rentals are both tied to the basic economic law of supply and demand. In my opinion more than half of our listings are still overpriced and need adjustments. If these homes were priced in the market a lot of them would sell to Buyers just sitting around looking for a good property at a fair price. It seems like we are making offers on 2 to 3 homes that a Buyer likes before we can find a Seller willing and/or able to sell at fair market value. The faster Sellers realize this and adjust their price the faster we will eat up this excess inventory and stabilize the market. By keeping asking prices too high Sellers unwittingly contribute to the lower overall sales prices by keeping their home on the market as excess "unsellable" inventory.
Luckily, around here, it looks like at least some Sellers are making the move to adjust prices and stay ahead of the market. They are the ones that are selling...and many are receiving multiple offers to choose from...even in this type of market. Let's hope the rest of the pack "gets it" sooner rather than later.
Rental rates are tied to the old law of "supply and demand." As the number of homes available for the rental pool increases the rental amounts collected will decrease. Today, renters in some locations find themselves in a highly benefical position, one that enables them to do a bit of negotiating.
To add to my other response we have converted at least 4 of our listings for sale in the last year to rentals. One is coming on the market again this week and we may have to rent it for $50 to $150/month less than we did this time last year. There is a lot of competition in the rental market just like the resale market. As credit tightens for Buyers more are choosing to rent. That is good for rentals and not so good for Sellers. If you are still looking to buy in this market prices should continue to decline throughout the fall season. As long as interest rates continue to hold you will have a great selection to buy from.
More inventory usually means lower prices...even in rentals. These Sellers probably can't get the price the need and are trying to rent just to stay afloat and ride out this market shift. We are seeing rental rates 5-10% lower in the North Fulton/South Forsyth area of metro Atlanta. Inventories have almost tripled over this time last year. The number of homes that have rented have also more than doubled in our area so there are more families that need to rent and that is helping to eat up the extra inventory.