Saturday, July 16, 2011

Atlanta Commercial Real Estate: Five More Years to Recovery?

New Report Explores Effects of White House Mandate to Reduce Government Real Estate Costs

/PRNewswire/ -- The Atlanta office market freefall has slowed despite the fact that the office space vacancy rate for Atlanta's metropolitan area is at 20.28%, a 20-year high. Hope of recovery for this market rests on one thing: jobs creation. However, there is a dark cloud hovering overhead that could significantly impact the Atlanta region's ability to recover in the short term.

In May, the White House mandated reduction of real estate-related costs to the government across the country, and legislation has been introduced that would liquidate certain owned assets and consolidate or renegotiate leased assets.

The U.S. government owns or leases at least 8 million square feet of office space in the Atlanta region. With about 2.2 million square feet in leases expiring from 2011 through 2015, and the potential for the government to sell the owned property and lease it back at or below market rates, this legislation could have a significant impact on Atlanta's office real estate market.

Excluding government-controlled space in the Washington, D.C. region, the state of Georgia contains the fifth largest amount of government real estate of the 56 states and territories. The impact of the governmental mandate to Georgia, and the Atlanta region, will be one of the highest in the country. The Atlanta "domino" could be one of the first, and the hardest, to fall.

These realities have been detailed in the just-published report, Cloud on the Horizon: Government Debt Reduction and the Atlanta Commercial Real Estate Market. Compiled by Anderson Bauman Tourtellot Vos, a leading turnaround management firm, the report is based on research conducted over the past two months.

According to John Connor, Principal of Anderson Bauman Tourtellot Vos, the government should sell a significant portion, if not all, of its owned portfolio to reduce costs and generate revenue. In addition, he said, the government should consolidate leases that are expiring in the next few years and consolidate the space that is leased into fewer buildings. The weak lease market makes it an opportune time to negotiate for office space.

"The government cannot continue to do business as usual and will be forced to take substantial measures to reduce debt, increase revenue, and cut costs," said Connor. "If the government reduces its footprint in metro Atlanta by 25% over the next three years, it will take 1.2 million square feet of occupied space from the market. Any way you spin it, this will exert downward pressure on lease rates and further depress sale prices, likely pushing back recovery for up to five more years."

The report can be downloaded at

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Colorado and Georgia Lead Highest U.S. Foreclosure Listings Increase

/PRNewswire/ -- reports that Colorado and Georgia had the highest increase in foreclosure listings, considered the most in the United States from April to May of 2011, reflecting more accurate statistics and reasons challenging the overall appearance of a downward trend over the previous year.

Colorado foreclosed homes were 6,825 in March and 7,277 listings in April, a 6.62% increase.

Georgia had a bit more at 3,575 foreclosure listings in March and 3,828 listings in April, a 7.08% increase.

Only Georgia, Colorado, New Jersey, Wyoming, Alabama, and Alaska had increases from March to April 2011. Experts suggest that the slight rise in the preceding month has to do with the continuous flow of foreclosures that have been stuck in limbo while courts and lenders wade through the many filings to ensure that all paperwork was correctly and accurately completed. Last year's scrutiny of so-called "robo-signing" of documents by inexperienced personnel hired to help process the many loans in default or in modification, temporarily slowed the process.

As more foreclosure paperwork continues to be processed, more of these homes will appear on the market. In Colorado, the consensus is that the tourism industry has been affected by the lack of spendable income and that has affected jobs in the mountain state. In Georgia, jobs were added in several industry sectors for the second straight month. Yet data reveals a slight relief of the immense backlog of foreclosure listings that have been held up for months by the tight scrutiny of the foreclosure processes that have slowed the process in previous months, and now shows the increase in listings.

Completing the information, also calculated the percentage of Colorado and Georgia foreclosed homes of the top cities of these states:

Denver: -1.0%
Aurora: +5.4%
Arvada: +7.0%
Colorado Springs: +7.7%
Brighton: +10.4%

Atlanta: +28.9%
Lawrenceville: +5.4%
Marietta: +23.6%
Douglasville: +129.3%
Savannah: -5.6%

High unemployment, a soft real estate market, and underwater borrowers--all key factors that create foreclosures--are contributing to the long duration of the housing and financial crisis.


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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Albert Burney Auction Company Manages Bank Ordered Auction of Savannah River Preserve

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Savannah River Preserve is comprised of 1,217± acres of land with almost 250 riverfront acres in Sylvania, GA. The property includes 180± acres of bird and deer food plots and provides an ideal location for hunting and other outdoor recreation. Savannah River Preserve will be selling in three tracts or as an entirety.

Parcel one of Savannah River Preserve is 524.22± acres and includes a 2,533± sq. ft. main lodge with a kitchen, meeting room, game room and a master suite. Additional lodging includes four one-bedroom, one-bathroom cabins, each with its own kitchenette. This parcel also includes an assortment of outbuildings and recreational fields.

“It’s a sportsman’s dream,” said Warren A. Ward, President of Albert Burney, Inc. “It is one of the most inclusive recreational properties we have offered - from world class wing shooting, deer and turkey hunting to fishing. From sporting clay range to indoor archery, this property has it all. It is a world-class hunting preserve and it’s located just minutes from Savannah.”

Parcel two includes 444± acres of ideal hunting property in the Georgia woods. Parcel three includes 248.49± acres of river front property ideal for fishing; this parcel will be sold regardless of price.

This bank ordered auction will take place on June 18th at the Savannah River Preserve Lodge. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. with the auction following at 10:00 a.m.

Albert Burney representatives will be available to answer questions and offer site inspections two weeks prior to auction dates and continuing through auction day. Individuals seeking additional information may call (800) 434-1654 or visit

Albert Burney Auction Company, headquartered in Huntsville, Ala., is one of the nation’s leading auction companies specializing in land, home sites, homes and other high end real estate.


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bankrate: Mortgage Rates Show Slight Increase

/PRNewswire/ -- Mortgage rates marked a slight increase, with the benchmark conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate rising to 4.96 percent, according to's weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.41 discount and origination points.

To see mortgage rates in your area, go to

The average 15-year fixed mortgage inched to 4.16 percent, and the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate retreated to 5.45 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were mostly higher, with the average 5-year ARM moving up to 3.78 percent and the 7-year ARM moving to 4.11 percent.

Mortgage rates increased, but only slightly, as investors digest world events and assess the potential impact on global economic recovery. The outlook for economic growth, inflation, and a desire to avoid market volatility are the key drivers of bond yields and mortgage rates on a day-to-day basis. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.

The last time mortgage rates were above 6 percent was Nov. 2008. At the time, the average 30-year fixed rate was 6.33 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,241.86. With the average rate now 4.96 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,068.76, a difference of $173 per month for anyone refinancing now.


30-year fixed: 4.96% -- up from 4.91% last week (avg. points: 0.41)

15-year fixed: 4.16% -- up from 4.12% last week (avg. points: 0.38)

5/1 ARM: 3.78% -- up from 3.74% last week (avg. points: 0.37)

Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.

For a full analysis of this week's move in mortgage rates, go to

The survey is complemented by Bankrate's weekly Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next seven days. Slightly less than half of the panelists, 47 percent, predict rates to increase further. An equal amount of panelists, 47 percent, think the rates will remain more or less unchanged. The remaining 6 percent forecast a decline in mortgage rates over the next seven days.

For the full mortgage Rate Trend Index, go to

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta to Award $6.9 Million for Affordable Housing in Georgia

Funding to Create, Preserve 724 Affordable Rental and Homeownership Units

(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBank Atlanta) announced today that it will award $6.9 million to assist in the funding of 15 affordable housing developments in Georgia. The funding is part of $42.7 million FHLBank Atlanta awarded in 2010 in 11 states and the District of Columbia to create or preserve 4,841 units of affordable rental and ownership housing.

FHLBank Atlanta will award the funds as part of its 2010 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) offering. Local community developers, in partnership with FHLBank Atlanta member institutions, will use the funding to build or repair 724 affordable housing units in Cherokee, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, and Fulton counties, as well as the cities of Atlanta, Cumming, Forsyth, Jefferson, Tennille, Tifton, Valdosta, and Waynesboro.

"FHLBank Atlanta continues to provide unique funding options that help members serve their communities," said Arthur Fleming, senior vice president and director of Community Investment Services, FHLBank Atlanta. "Through the participation of member institutions, AHP acts as a catalyst to revitalize neighborhoods, create jobs, and support economic development."

AHP is a competitive funding program that helps develop owner-occupied and rental housing for very low-, low-, and moderate-income families. FHLBank Atlanta awards funds annually to member financial institutions and their community housing partners. AHP is a component of FHLBank Atlanta's affordable housing, economic development, and down-payment assistance initiatives. For the complete list of AHP winners, visit

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Over 250 Foreclosed Atlanta Homes Head to the Auction Block, Tempting Buyers With Deals

/PRNewswire -- As home sales edge upward, buyers continue to gravitate toward foreclosed properties because they remain some of the best buys in today's real estate market. On average bank-owned homes sell at a discounted price compared to similar homes in a neighborhood. Hudson &Marshall will auction over 250 Atlanta area foreclosed homes January 22nd-23rd at the Atlanta Marriott Century Center at 1:00 p.m.

Prospective buyers will be required to make a $2,500 cash or certified check deposit for each property, for which they are the winning bidder. There is a wide array of homes from which investors and owner-occupant buyers can choose. Homes come with an insurable title, and all sales will close within 30-45 days. Buyers may secure financing with the lender of their choice prior to closing; however, closing is not contingent upon financing.

"The downturn in the housing market has made buyers more educated and savvy about the homebuying process. With the high levels of foreclosures flooding the market, consumers have realized that foreclosures don't necessarily mean run-down property anymore. They can be purchased at a reduced price and in move-in ready condition," remarked Dave Webb, principal, Hudson & Marshall.

All properties auctioned by Hudson & Marshall are sold "as-is" and buyers should inspect properties before placing any bids. Homes can be viewed during the open house scheduled Saturday, January 15th and Sunday, January 16th from 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. or by contacting listing agents to schedule appointments. Complete property details and additional information may be found at or by calling 866-539-4172.

Realtytrac® reported during the third quarter of 2010, foreclosures accounted for 25% of all U.S. home sales, and average sales price of properties sold while in some stage of foreclosure was more than 32% below the average sales price of homes not in the foreclosure process. In Georgia, foreclosure sales accounted for 29% of all residential home sales in the third quarter of 2010.

Prior to auction, buyers can purchase property online by visiting the website and clicking on the Bid-Now icon. Sellers typically respond to offers within 24 hours. This is a reserve auction, which means sellers have the right to accept, reject or counter any bid; however, in past auctions conducted by Hudson & Marshall, the majority of offers have been accepted.

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Having sold over 80,000 homes for sellers in the past ten years, Hudson & Marshall, Inc. is the most experienced, trusted leader in the REO auction industry. The company's accelerated sales process enables it to swiftly and efficiently sell large volumes of property in a way that minimizes expenses for sellers and maximizes return. Over the past five years alone, Hudson & Marshall's total sales have topped $3.5 billion, and the company anticipates selling another 15,000 homes in 2011.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Southeastern Realty Group Becomes Real Estate Brokerage

As 2010 gave way to 2011, The Southeastern Home Team became the Southeastern Realty Group, Georgia's newest full-service real estate brokerage. With the brokerage comes a renewed commitment to providing a real estate experience that goes well beyond the expectations of buyers, sellers and agents.

“We will provide an environment where those agents that want to be successful will have the opportunity to do so. We know the market is difficult right now, but with the focused training and opportunities we provide, an agent willing to work WILL be successful,” said Mary Colson, Broker in Charge.

The company was founded in 2002 as the Southeastern Home Team when Amy Ransdell, an avid Realtor and investor, discovered the need in the Atlanta market for a real estate company that could go beyond the offerings of a typical real estate office. At the time, there was no company equipped to readily handle the needs of a short sale, as well as provide strategies to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Distressed properties were also frowned upon throughout the industry due to the amount of time it took to effect a sale, the usual condition of the property and the low success rate in completing a short sale.

"We were all about the short sale and foreclosure market, and saw the opportunities in rehabbing and flipping houses before it became the trend it is now. It seems like everyone is attempting to do them now. Even today, our success rate in bringing a short sale to the closing table is three times better than the national average,” said Ransdell.

The company's team concept proved to be successful from the onset. Ransdell's undying belief in the "Power of Team" has provided clients the best possible experience in specialized services. In addition to traditional real estate transactions, its team of professionals have over a century of combined experience, and are well-versed in Atlanta short sales, foreclosures, avoiding foreclosure and loss mitigation. The company, based just off I-575 in Woodstock, serves buyers and sellers throughout metro Atlanta.

Southeastern Realty Group's areas of expertise include:

Buyer’s agent
Seller’s agent
Short sales
Avoiding foreclosure and loss mitigation
Quick sales
Strategic investments
Residential and commercial property sales
REOs and foreclosed bank assets

The brokerage is looking for a handful of top notch, tech-savvy agents to accommodate the growth it has experienced over the past few years. Southeastern Realty Group offers three different and affordable agent participation levels, excellent technology resources and a paperless transaction system. To learn more, please visit Then click on the blue "Join Our Team" button.