Metro Atlanta Home Prices Continue To Fall

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COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A new report paints a sobering picture of Atlanta's housing market.

Home prices in Atlanta are equal to what they were in the spring of 2001, according to the Case Shiller Home Price index from Standard and Poor's.

Marietta resident Steve Schoch knows the numbers all too well.

PDF: Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices

"I was let go of my job four days after we closed on the home," Schoch told Channel 2's Jim Strickland as they toured Schoch's stately east Cobb home.

He bought and renovated the house, but could never afford to move into it.

Schoch's been trying to sell it for five years. The price, once $1.5 million, is now slashed 40 percent.

"I like the location. I like the house. It's just a bad time to try to sell a house like this," Schoch said.

Schoch is a perfect illustration of the bleak market outlined in the latest Case Shiller Home Price index.

The index is published on the last Tuesday of each month reflects data from two months before, meaning Tuesday's report is a snapshot of the market in September. It showed the Atlanta housing market continues to soften. Prices are down 1 percent between August and September and down 3 percent since Sept. 2009.

"We still have a faulty housing market because we've not cycled through all the foreclosures in metro Atlanta or in many places in the country," said Channel 2 consumer adviser Clark Howard.

Distressed properties bring down everyone's value, according to Howard.

If you bought a $250,000 house at the Atlanta price peak in July 2007, the index says you can expect to sell it for about $197,500. That's a drop of 21 percent.

Even if Schoch sells soon, he said he won't cover both his loans. He stopped making payments in June, and the foreclosure notices have already started.

"We'll hold out as long as we can. We've done this for over five years now and we're going to continue to be hopeful," he said.