Metro Atlanta home prices climbing — but slower than other cities

A year after the sudden halt to the U.S. economy, Atlanta home prices are still climbing. Here, a home for sale in Duluth. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
A year after the sudden halt to the U.S. economy, Atlanta home prices are still climbing. Here, a home for sale in Duluth. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index: High buyer demand during pandemic

Metro Atlanta home prices rose 11.2% in the first 12 months of the pandemic, but that was still below average for the nation’s largest regions, according to a high-profile monthly report.

With the demand for homes surging and sellers skittish, the 20 biggest metro areas averaged price growth of 13.3% between March 2020 and March 2021, according to an index calculated by S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller.

Even as the pandemic shuttered much of the economy, demand for homes was roaring by last summer.

The year-to-year gain was the largest since late 2005, said Craig Lazzara, head of index investment strategy at S&P. “The unusual strength is reflected across all 20 cities.”

The S&P index averages several months of data but tracks only resales and does not include sales of new construction. Another estimate, published earlier by Re/Max, calculated that home prices rose 17% in metro Atlanta’s 28 counties over the same period.

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According to S&P, Phoenix had the largest gain, a 20.0% increase, followed by San Diego and Seattle. All 20 metros had higher price increases in the year ending March 2021 versus the year ending February 2021.

It estimated home prices in metro Atlanta have risen 105% since hitting bottom nine years ago after the burst of the housing bubble. Area prices are nearly 30% higher than they were at the peak of the bubble in 2007.

While recent job reports were disappointing, spurring questions about the recovery’s strength, there is little reason to expect home prices to retreat, said economist Matthew Speakman of home listing company Zillow.

The surge of demand has not ebbed. Moreover, mortgage rates remain near all-time lows, he said. “The pressures that have pushed home prices upward at their fastest pace in years remain in place. There is little, if any, indication that home prices will slow their appreciation anytime soon.”

Largest home price* changes between March 2020 and March 2021

1. Phoenix: 20%

2. San Diego: 19.1%

3. Seattle: 18.3%

4. Boston: 14.9%

5. Tampa: 13.7%

6. Portland: 13.5%

7. Charlotte: 13.5%

...

16. Atlanta: 11.2%

*Re-sales only, does not include new homes

Source: S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices

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