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Atlanta home sales: Trouble beneath the surface?

[Post Category: Industry News]

The mismatch of supply and demand in metro Atlanta housing has intensified, according to a report released Wednesday by the local branch of a national real estate firm.

Through the core counties of the region, there are some signs of the traditional signs of a solid, growing real estate market. Sales and prices are up – in some areas, strongly – but there’s an undercurrent of trouble.Atlanta_marquee

The number of homes for sale during the past year has fallen, according to Coldwell Banker.

So while the surface numbers seem fine, there is underneath them, an unbalanced market that gives the advantage to sellers, threatening to push prices up past the reach of many first-time buyers.

A snapshot of the core market in March:

— Highest median home price: Fulton, at $279,250 (the county’s average price of $394,700 was also tops in the region).

— Lowest median home price: Clayton, at $132,450.

— Biggest jump in sales: Clayton, 14 percent above last year.

— Biggest price bump: Clayton, with a stunning 53.8 percent rise.

It would all sound pretty robust, if it weren’t for the inventory story.

In what experts consider a healthy, balanced market, the number of homes for sale – called inventory — typically represents about six to eight months of sales. But among the five core counties around Atlanta, no county even had four months worth.

Clayton had the largest pool of supply: 3.7 months of sales. The shallowest was DeKalb, with just 2.3 months of sales.

After the collapse of the housing bubble in 2007, the market was saturated with relatively cheap homes for sale as hundreds of thousands in the region lost their homes to foreclosure. But even as the economy improved, many of those still making mortgage payments were effectively blocked from selling: the value of their houses had fallen so far that they owed more on the mortgage than the home was worth.

But as the tidal wave of foreclosures ebbed, the number of homes for sale did not rise the way many expected. In fact, the flow has slackened in all five core counties.

In Clayton, the number of properties for sale was down 7 percent from a year ago. The most dramatic drop came in Gwinnett where inventory sank 21.8 percent since March 2015.

 

 

THE HOUSING MARKET IN MARCH

Percent change, compared to a year ago

Sales

Clayton UP 14

Cobb UP 4.4

DeKalb UP 9.3

Fulton UP 2.3

Gwinnett UP 7.4

Price change

Clayton UP 53.8

Cobb UP 14

DeKalb UP 9.9

Fulton UP 1.5

Gwinnett UP 4.4

Number of homes for sale (Inventory)

Clayton DOWN 7.0

Cobb DOWN 18.5

DeKalb DOWN 21.2

Fulton DOWN 9.7

Gwinnett DOWN 21.8

Source: Coldwell Banker

Home Prices: Median by county

Clayton $132,450

Cobb $245,000

DeKalb $215,500

Fulton $279,250

Gwinnett $200,000

 

Source: Coldwell Banker

   

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