It’s a pretty familiar story in metro Atlanta: lots of potential buyers, not enough homes for sale, prices going up. (Photo: contributed)

Atlanta home prices up 9.8 percent — faster than nation’s, Re/Max says

Metro Atlanta home prices are up 9.8 percent from a year ago, while the supply of homes for sale has continued to shrink, according to a report from Re/Max.

The median sales price of a home sold in the region during February was $225,000, up from a median of $204,900 during the same month of last year, according to the real estate firm.

In comparison, the national median sales price was $228,700 – an 8.1 percent increase over the year.

The key factor is inventory – that is, the supply of homes listed for sale, said John Rainey, vice president, Re/Max Georgia.

A real estate broker said a shortage of inventory and interest rates have contributed to the slow market.

In metro Atlanta, prices saw double-digit year-over-year increases in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties and the trend is not likely to reverse, he said.

The number of homes listed for sale last month represented only 2.2 months of sales. That is down from 2.9 months a year ago – a number that was already abnormally low.

The smaller that number, the more the balance shifts in favor of sellers since there are more and more potential buyers for each home on the market. It doesn’t help that many of the new homes being built are too expensive for the typical first-time buyer.

Experts generally agree that in a balanced housing market, inventories should represent about six or seven months of sales.

The imbalance has only grown worse over the past several years. And that imbalance is driven by many things, among them the growing economy and the influx of new residents. If the balance is to be restored, most experts say there has to be a lot more construction.

The number of homes sold did not change much. During February, there were 5,759 homes sold, just 1 percent more than during the same month a year ago.

Rise in median home sales price from a year ago

Gwinnett 4 percent

Cobb 7 percent

Fulton 13 percent

DeKalb 22 percent

Clayton 12 percent

Source: Re/Max Georgia

Median home sales price, February

Gwinnett $233,000

Cobb $261,800

Fulton $300,700

DeKalb $255,000

Clayton $126,000

Source: Re/Max Georgia

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