Atlanta is hot. Georgia’s capital tops the National Association of Realtors’ list of markets to watch in 2023, based on 10 metrics, including housing affordability, employment conditions, and population growth. Among 179 metro areas analyzed by NAR, Atlanta alone met all 10.
“The Atlanta metro area continues to be more affordable than most areas across the country, with more than 20% of the renters able to afford to buy the typical home in the area,” noted the report released this past week. “The job market is robust, with many major tech companies from the West Coast opening offices, such as Apple,
As a result, the area experiences substantial migration gains and fast population growth.”
Atlanta rides a trend: moving south. Rounding out NAR’s top five are four Southern metro areas: Raleigh, N.C.; Dallas; Fayetteville, Ark.; and Greenville, S.C. “The economic conditions in place in the top 10 U.S. markets…provide the support for home prices to climb by at least 5% in 2023,” wrote NAR chief economist and senior vice president of research Lawrence Yun in the report.
Outside of those hot spots, NAR expects annual median home prices to tick up just 0.3%—following a 9.6% gain in 2022—to $385,800, NAR said. “Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines,” Yun added. “However, markets in California may be the exception, with San Francisco, for example, likely to register price drops of 10% to 15%. Existing-home sales, meanwhile, are expected to total 4.78 million, a 6.8% drop from this year’s 5.13 million transactions.
So Much for Santa Claus
As Christmas neared, markets were fixated on inflation and rates. On Tuesday, the consumer price index came in at 7.1%, below expectations, continuing a two-month cooling trend. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised rates 0.5% but forecast a higher-than-expected peak in 2023, at 5.1%. Other major central banks also raised, and stocks fell hard. For the week, the Dow industrials slipped 1.66% to 32,920.46; the S&P 500 was off 2.08% to 3852.36; and the Nasdaq Composite sagged 2.72% to 10,705.41.
The Trouble With Reopening
Covid spread rapidly in China, threatening to overwhelm the healthcare system and crippling everything from trading desks to government operations. China filed charges against the World Trade Organization over U.S. chip export controls. And Asian U.S. dollar junk bonds soared after China loosened property borrowing limits.
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas at the request of U.S. prosecutors, who outlined eight charges, from conspiracy to commit wire fraud to money laundering. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges, alleging $1.8 billon in securities fraud, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission added more. Next up: an extradition fight. Meanwhile, FTX rival Binance got hit by huge net outflows.
New Trading Rules
The SEC proposed big changes in U.S. stock trading aimed at increasing transparency and competition. Market makers such as Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial aren’t happy.
Russia continued to rain missiles and drones on infrastructure and civilian targets in Ukraine, with Ukraine hitting targets deep within Russian-controlled areas. Both Russia and Ukraine are burning through ammunition in intense fighting in frigid weather. The G-7 promised more aid to Ukraine, and the U.S. considered sending Patriot air-defense systems to Kyiv.
Fusion Heats Up
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reported producing a laser-driven fusion reaction that generated more energy than it consumed, a metric known as net energy gain. This is a key advance in fusion technology, ushering in the possibility of generating clean energy from hydrogen. The caveat: Practical use remains distant.
Annals of Deal Making
Microsoft said it was buying 4% of the
London Stock Exchange
for nearly $2 billion, part of a 10-year deal to provide data and analytics…
Johnson & Johnson
an Irish biotech with a pipeline of rare autoimmune therapies, for some $28 billion, including debt. The premium: 20%…Thoma Bravo said it was buying
for $8 billion…Elon Musk dissolved Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, then suspended a user tracking his plane and a group of mainstream reporters who wrote about it.