Hank and dan get thumbs up - Dan, thanks for the links.
Hank - thanks for doing what you do, spewing what you spew and thanks for pointing out the strengths and weaknesesses that can only be assessed at the hyperlocal level.
Hank, you are correct about some of the graphic "defeat" that we see in some intown Atlanta neighborhoods, however, neighborhoods like Adair Park, or Lakewood, or even Vine City have good neighbors, who retrench and defend their turf as best as they can.
Does everyone remember "mortgage fraud?" Fraud is much more difficult to do nowadays, but the neighborhoods that I just mentioned, and others like them, began hurting 5-7 years ago, when massive disinvestments happened.
Criminal cash outs.
So, 2009 was a year of improvement for some streets, and some buyers have purchased properties with cash and 203K FHA loans that make them true investors in these communities.
Other streets, not so much. What this means for buyers is that purchases are available for 80% off of sales prices from 3-5 years ago in some neighborhoods - close in, convenient, neighborhoods and in many cases, classic, well-built houses.
If you go to Buckhead Forest, Ansley Park, Morningside, Virginia Highland, Druid Hills and the city limits of Decatur, houses will not sell for anything less than $250,000. Prices have fallen, but not by 80%.
All of this upheaval is a tremendous opportunity for buyers, and in the next few months, Sellers who must sell will sell.
Buyers will take advantage of the best purchase market in history...and then, we can expect some more difficulty for the snivelling, nouveau riche, unbridled spenders like Hank describes who just will not "get it" until the authorities come and take their stuff.
The season is now for short sales, value purchases and super favorable loan terms for all buyers at all price points - more inventory is coming, and rates will go up. Demand will spike, and only the strongest will survive what happens after this next spike.
It's gonna be a tough decade for many people, and the window of time available to the most nimble, the smartest and the savviest real estate purchasers is going to close when government retrenches and banks reprioritize.
Supply will exceed demand for a long time, but in areas where the fundamentals are sound, like the Walton HSD that Hank describes, demand will remain strong. Conservative, practical and hard working folks will always have money and there will always be great houses selling at fair prices.
That doesn't mean that a conservative, practical and hard working investor can't develop a sound rental portfolio in Bouldercrest Acres or Oakland City...