Metro Atlanta home prices jump 10.3 percent since last year

3:51 p.m Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 Business
A shortage of homes for sale is a recipe for higher prices.

The median sales price of a home sold in metro Atlanta last month jumped 10.3 percent from the same month last year, according to a report by Re/Max Georgia.

The region’s real estate market slowed as it typically does in the autumn, the number of sales falling from September this year. Compared to a year ago, sales were essentially flat – just 1 percent higher than October of 2016.

During the month, there were 7,243 home sales, according to Re/Max.

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The market varies between cities, areas and even from neighborhood to neighborhood. But overall, the pattern of higher prices and slow sales is a sign that the market continues to be deviled by a lack of inventory – that is, a shortage in the number of homes listed for sale.

“A lack of inventory remains a significant strain on our local housing market,” said John Rainey, vice president of Re/Max Georgia.

The biggest price jump in metro Atlanta came in Cobb, where the median price in October was 14 percent higher than in October of last year. Second biggest was Clayton County, where prices were 11 percent higher.

Inventory is measured by how many months it would take at the current pace of sales to soak up all the homes listed. The smaller the number, the more likely it is that market power has tilted toward sellers: When demand is greater than supply, prices rise.

A balanced market – with roughly equal sway for both buyers and sellers – typically means a market with inventory of six or seven months, experts say.

In October, metro Atlanta inventory was 2.8 months, according to Re/Max.

The median home price in Atlanta is still one of the more affordable among large metros – and the salary needed to buy a house is likewise modest, according to a report by HSH.com, a California-based publisher of mortgage and loan information.

The median home price in metro Atlanta is $204,000, according to HSH, which bases its calculations on data from the National Association of Realtors. That is the 14th lowest median- priced home among the top 50 metro areas and also one of the lower priced in the south.

To buy that median-priced home in metro Atlanta requires a salary of $43,388, said HSH.

The necessary salary is slightly higher in Atlanta than in Birmingham, where a salary of $40,096 is needed to buy a median-priced home, but lower than Charlotte, where $47,468 is needed.

In Dallas, a salary of $59,518 a year is needed for a median-priced home, according to HSH.

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