If you are selling a well-maintained house in a good metro neighborhood, your chances of getting a good price for it are pretty high. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Number of Atlanta home sales drops hard from 2017

Home sales last month in metro Atlanta dropped more than 10 percent from a year ago, according to a report from the Atlanta Realtors Association.

Despite continued growth in the economy, the usual surge of March home sales fell 549 short of the level reached during the same month of 2017, the report concluded, using data for an 11-county area compiled by First Multiple Listing Service.

Meanwhile, the median sales price was up a solid 7.6 percent during the year.

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AMLI at North Point. A 366-unit apartment complex. (AJC photo by Michael E. Kanell)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Homeowners have done very well since the market turned around in 2012, with home prices rising in many areas of the region.

But one reason for the steady price increases is the unprecedented scarcity of inventory – that is, homes listed for sale. The result is a market badly out of balance – good for those who already own homes and good for those who want to sell, said Bill Murray, president of the association.

“There’s no question that a majority of Atlanta homeowners have amassed considerable equity gains since the downturn,” he said.

The number of homes listed for sale plummeted more than 26 percent from a year earlier, according to the Realtors report. The number of homes for sale represented just 2.4 months of sales – less than half of what experts consider a healthy market.

Demand is fueled by strong and steady growth in metro Atlanta’s economy, which has been adding jobs and attracting new residents. But the number of owners selling has not kept pace – which can mean potential buyers can find themselves bidding against each other for the same home.

In popular areas, that can mean sales prices end up higher than what the seller originally asked while many would-be buyers end up renting.

The median price of a home sold in March was $268,000. Among the core four counties of metro Atlanta, Fulton chalked up the highest prices, with a median of $328,000. But Gwinnet had the most sales – 980 during the month.

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