Pandemic housing: Metro Atlanta sales up, prices soaring

The coronavirus pandemic has been shaping the housing market with rock-bottom mortgage rates, hot demand from households whose income was untouched by layoffs and a reluctance of current owners to have strangers traipsing through their homes. It's a recipe for fewer sales and higher prices. Here, a new home for sale at The Oaks community in Duluth. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
The coronavirus pandemic has been shaping the housing market with rock-bottom mortgage rates, hot demand from households whose income was untouched by layoffs and a reluctance of current owners to have strangers traipsing through their homes. It's a recipe for fewer sales and higher prices. Here, a new home for sale at The Oaks community in Duluth. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

October was a good month for home sellers in metro Atlanta.

The median price of the houses sold last month was $290,000 — 16.5% higher than in October 2019, according to Re/Max, which collects data from transactions in 28 metro counties.

There were 9,150 homes sold in that region during October, up about 11% from a year ago.

“The only metric that is down is the number of listings, which means we still cannot meet buyer demand,” said Kristen Jones, broker and owner of Re/Max Around Atlanta.

With the paychecks of many white-collar professionals relatively unscathed, the pool of wannabe homebuyers has grown.

Yet the supply they are competing for has been shrinking.

Experts consider the market balanced — with equal leverage to sellers and buyers — when the number of listings is equal to about six months of sales. But metro Atlanta has been tilting in favor of sellers for several years, and the shortage of homes has been even more acute during the pandemic.

In October, the number of listings in the region represented about 1.7 months of sales. That means buyers are often bidding against each other for homes, a formula for higher prices.

A year ago, the median sales price was 7.8% below the seller’s asking price. Last month, the median sales price was just 2.8% below the list price, according to Re/Max.

According to Re/Max, in Atlanta, a home is on the market for an average of just 37 days before a sale, the shortest time in more than a decade. .

Low interest rates are enticing buyers into the market and giving them more buying power, said Jennifer Pino, president of the Atlanta Realtors Association. “These factors should continue to put upward pressure on the average sales prices over the next few months,” she said.

Metro Atlanta housing market, October

Highlights

Median sales price: $290,000

Change from a year ago: +16.5%

Average time to sell a home: 37 days

Highest-priced county: Forsyth, $391,462

Lowest-priced county: Clayton, $160,000

Most homes sold by county

Fulton: 1,667

Gwinnett: 1,378

Cobb: 1,201

DeKalb: 917

Cherokee: 539

Forsyth: 480

Clayton: 157

Henry: 138

Source: Re/Max

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