Every week, we ask an Atlanta real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in Atlanta real estate.
This week, we talked with Kena Murphy, an agent with the Atlanta Communities real estate brokerage in Marietta. An agent for more than eight years, Kena’s sales volume in 2013 was $2 million, and she specializes in not only residential sales, but also land deals and commercial transactions throughout Cobb County.
Atlanta Agent (AA): One of our recent cover stories looked at the lending environment in the Atlanta area, and where the mortgage markets are heading in 2014; what’s your take, on lending?
Kena Murphy (KM): It’s been much easier for my clients to obtain financing, compared to last year. I’ve also noticed that they’ve been able to close loans much more quickly. Last year, we averaged a 45-day turnaround, but this year, loans are closing in a few weeks; that’s true for some of my most recent commercial transactions, as well.
Lending, I think, has gotten easier for two reasons: one, there are more buyers in the market; and two, confidence in the market is higher, and consumers’ incomes are more secure as well.
AA: We’ve also looked at ways that government involvement in the mortgage markets could change in 2014, particularly with Mel Watt now heading the FHFA. Those stories may be big with national news outlets, but are they things you consider in your daily business? Or is it just noise on the outskirts that you work through?
KM: It doesn’t affect me so much. I do hear from people, when they go through the lending process, that although loans are closing in a shorter timespan, consumers are having to present much more information to close on a loan, and how that relates to government regulations.
But overall, I do not hear much in the way of government regulation. I do hear, as you put it, “noise” from some people on what the government is going to do, but it never really comes to fruition. Now, we’re encouraged to contact our representatives and say we’re against or for a given policy, but a lot of it never comes to pass; it’s just thrown out there.
AA: We follow the Millennial generation pretty closely; what are some characteristics that you’ve spotted among your Millennial clients?
KM: One thing I’ve noticed is, many of my clients have been good stewards of their money; they are really living within their means, and because they’re not going overboard, they have a lot of cash on hand for their downpayments. That generation may be wiser than the generation before, at least around in my area.
It seems like, before when I worked with first-time homebuyers, they only wanted newly built homes. Now, though, they are willing to work their way up and begin with a starter home. Even if they qualify for a larger loan, they opt for a lower price point. It appears they are more aware of what’s happened the last few years, and they want to stay within their means and not get in over their heads. They’re wiser to what can happen.