ATLANTA — As the Atlanta housing prices continue to soar - a trend 11Alive has been tracking throughout the pandemic - many current homeowners are struggling to make their mortgage payments.
New data from Atlanta Business Chronicle, 11Alive’s business partner, shows that metro Atlanta homeowners are falling behind on their mortgage payments at one of the highest rates in the country. This is considered the fifth-highest rate of serious delinquency in the country.
With more COVID-19 forbearance programs ending soon, many people in metro Atlanta could be at risk of losing their homes in a competitive real estate market.
Sam Hoskins, a homeowner in southwest Atlanta, pointed to income inequality and soaring property taxes as some of the challenges for homeowners.
“There’s a lot of gentrification happening so as they are taking these older homes and renovating them and that is driving the average home sale price in communities,” Hoskins said.
According to S&P Dow Jones indices, Atlanta home prices are rising at one of the fastest rates in 30 years thanks to limited inventory and a spike in people wanting to purchase homes
At the same time, 4.5% of Atlanta homeowners were at least 90 days delinquent on mortgage payments in April.
Tarvis Hicks, a loss mitigation specialist, gets calls frequently from people who fear losing their homes due to tough times.
“Because the cost of living is very high, property tax is through the roof. When the pandemic happened, I kind of knew Atlanta would be one of the major cities that would get hit hard,” Hicks said.
Hicks says the most vulnerable during this time are longtime homeowners.
“I see a trend for older homeowners – the 65 and up crowd. Their property taxes are getting very high and usually, at that age, they’re on a fixed income.”
A federal moratorium on foreclosures is set to expire on June 30.
Hicks said this could force more people out of their homes if lenders and private loan companies don’t extend their individual forbearance deadlines as well.