In the Athens, GA market, closings of new homes dropped year-over-year in December, a decline following a rise in November 2015. New home closings moved from 18 a year earlier to 15 after the figure moved from 14 in November 2014 to 17 in November 2015.

A total of 231 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in December, down from 234 for the year that ended in November.

As a percentage of overall housing closings, new home closings represented 4.3%. This is a fall 7.1% of closings a year earlier. Following a drop in November year-over-year, closings of new and existing homes rose year-over-year in December.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

In December, there was a 7.2% rise year-over-year in the average price of newly sold homes, reaching $320,520 per unit. This surge compares to a 9.1% decline in November from a year earlier.

The average mortgage size on newly sold homes increased year-over-year along with the average price of new homes. It grew 14.5% in December from a year earlier to $278,077. Average mortgage size on new homes went from $260,955 in November 2014 to $248,126 in November 2015.

Other Market Trends

There was no change in the composition of the new home market with regard to the types of properties sold in December 2015. Single-family home closings have accounted for all of new home closings while attached unit closings have made up no part of closings.

For all new homes sold, the average unit size grew 33.7% year-over-year to 3,903 square feet in December 2015. In November, the average size of new homes sold went from 3,469 square feet a year earlier to 2,380 square feet. The lift was sharper than the bump in average price of newly sold homes, making the movement simliar to November 2015 when the average size rose 31.4% to 2,380 square feet from a year earlier.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to increase in December from a year earlier and stayed a drag on the market. Foreclosures and REO closings, taken together, made up 31.2% of existing home closings, up from 23.2% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures rose to 23.9% in December from 10.1% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings declined to 7.3% from 13.1% a year earlier.

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