Home sales soared and prices jumped last month in metro Atlanta with the market kicking into a higher gear in the run-up to the spring selling season.
The number of sales was up 41 percent in March from the month before, with the median price of a home sold hitting $250,000, according to the monthly report from the Atlanta Realtors Association, released Thursday.
That median price was up 9.6 percent from February.
But prices typically dip during the winter. Compared to a year ago, the median price for the metro area was up a solid 8.7 percent.
The strong start to the spring means there is momentum to the market, according to Bill Rawlings, president of the association. “We feel we are poised for a very strong spring market despite the shortage of inventory in many local areas.”
Among the core counties, Gwinnett continued to be the hottest for transactions. Fulton, as usual, was the priciest.
Of the 4,896 homes sold during March, Gwinnett had 957 units sold. The median sales price for the Gwinnett sales was $230,000, according to the Realtors report.
On transactions, Fulton wasn’t far behind with 889 transactions completed during the month. Fulton’s median price of a home sold was $347,000, the report said.
Inventory – that is, the supply of homes listed for sales – has been a longstanding problem in the Atlanta market. When there is a relative scarcity of homes for sale, that imbalance means an advantage to sellers as buyers sometimes find themselves bidding against each other for desirable homes.
And for several years in metro Atlanta – with jobs and paychecks growing -- a group of buyers has been jostling each other as they work their wear through the slim pickings of homes for sale.
That did not dramatically improve in March. Although inventory last month was modestly higher than it was during the same month a year ago, it still represented just 3.3 months of sales, slightly less than half the ratio of a healthy market.
A comparison of the largest core counties in March:
Units Sold Median Sales Price
Cobb 832 $266,000
DeKalb 737 $266,000
Fulton 889 $347,000
Gwinnett 957 $230,000
Source: Atlanta Realtors Association