Atlanta home prices up 6.1 percent over a year ago, Re/Max reports


The median sales price of a home sold in metro Atlanta in November was up a solid 6.1 percent from the same month last year, according to a report by Re/Max Georgia.

During the month, there were 6,673 homes sold in metro Atlanta. The median price of those sales was $218,000 – both of those figures slightly down from October, which is typical of market in autumn.

However, the story in metro Atlanta continues to be mostly one of solid demand and scarce supply – a formula for rising prices, said John Rainey, vice president of Re/Max Georgia. “We’re still in a very strong seller’s market.”

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The listing of homes for sale – the inventory – was equal in November to three months of sales. In a balanced market, one in which sellers and buyers have roughly equal clout, inventory typically represents six or seven months of sales.

The current inventory has dropped 29 percent from the same period a year ago.

That $218,000 median price was a very slight dip from October, but a healthy climb from the median price of $205,423 a year ago, Re/Max said.

Still, healthy data that shows a strong market overall can mask many pockets of weakness.

While portions of the market have risen dramatically in value, other areas are relatively depressed and have made only modest improvements since the housing bubble burst in Atlanta in 2007.

At that point, the building boom had far outpaced demand for homes.

In some parts of the region, demand has still not caught up – at least not in some far-flung suburbs and exurbs, said Atlanta-based economist Michael Wald, formerly of the U.S. Labor Department. “There are even still some unfinished subdivisions out there.”

The lack of inventory for first-time buyers remains a sticking point closer to Atlanta.

A Census Bureau report yesterday showed construction of new homes had picked up last month, raising hopes that the market is going to be adding homes to match the demand, said Ralph McLaughlin: chief economist for Trulia.

“Each indicator – permits, starts, and completions – is on pace to finish 2017 at higher levels than last year, which should help boost inventory in 2018,” he said.

The nmber of homes sold fell in most of metro Atlanta’s core counties.

In both Gwinnett and DeKalb, the number of sales were down 11 percent from a year ago. In Clayton, the number of sales had slid 8 percent. In Fulton, sales were down 6 percent.

Only Cobb showed an increase, with the number of sales edging up 3 percent.

The median sales price was highest in Fulton: $332,230 more than twice the median price of a home sold in Clayton.

More than anything else, most experts say the health of the housing market depends on the healthy growth of the economy and the ability of potential homebuyers to spend money.

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