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Friday, June 10, 2011 - 1:24pm

Ga Housing Market Still Struggling

A new report from real-estate data firm CoreLogic finds 30 percent of Georgia mortgage holders owe more than their home is worth.

It’s the latest set of disappointing numbers about Georgia’s housing market, though there are some bright spots.

The number of home sales in Georgia is down about 14 percent over last year, according to the Georgia Association of Realtors. But the group’s president-elect, Bill Boatman, said the market is doing better than that because sales were inflated at this time last year from the federal homebuyers’ tax credit.

“We think we’ll level out as the year goes on because after the tax credit in 2010, sales began to dip,” Boatman said. “We’re not seeing that dip now, and so we think that it’ll level out. It’ll probably take three months to do so, though.”

Another bit of hope: Foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac reported the number of Georgia foreclosures filed in April fell 39 percent over the same month last year.

Boatman, who is executive vice president at Meybohm Realtors in Augusta, said people are moving, just not nearly as much as before.

“They’re much slower to make decisions, they’re much more cautious,” he said. “They’re concerned about pricing. ‘Where’s the bottom? Can I get a better deal if I wait? Can I get a better deal if I move now?”

Home values still haven’t hit bottom in Georgia, apparently. Real estate Web site reported home values in April had fallen as much as 11 percent compared to last year.

That makes it difficult for homeowners who would like to sell and move.

Meanwhile, Boatman said potential buyers also still face a tight credit market, where only the best-qualified borrowers can get good rates.