A home under construction and for sale is shown in Roswell. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Home buying? Here's why you'll pay more in metro Atlanta 

Prices of homes in metro Atlanta continued rising in April while the number of sales dropped, according to the monthly report from the Atlanta Realtors Association.

The month added another chapter to the ongoing tale of an unbalanced market, a story of solid demand bumping up against a limited supply of homes for sale – a mismatch that drove the median price of a home up to $254,000.

Follow a young Atlanta couple on their in-town house hunt. (Erica A. Hernandez/AJC)

That is 2 percent higher than March and 5.8 percent boost from the median of April 2016.

 The Realtors survey counts residential real estate in 11 counties. 

In some areas, prospective buyers in some areas bidding against and push prices higher. In less desirable neighborhoods, there are fewer buyers and sales.

The imbalance threatens to limit the buying power -- especially for price-sensitive buyers. The trouble is worse when home prices far outpace income

But the overall number of sales fell 13.7 percent from March and was down 7.4 percent from a year ago, according to the Realtors group.

 As it has been more several years, the problem is one of inventory, that is, the number of homes listed for sale.

During April, there were 13,796 units listed for sale, according to the Atlanta Realtors. That is 6.5 percent fewer than a year ago – and experts were complaining then about the shallow pool of homes for sale.

During April this year there were 5,043 listings added – down nearly 10 percent from April of last year. 

Experts typically judge inventory in comparison to the pace of sales. And over the past 12 months, inventory represented about 2.9 months of sales. That is less than half of what experts say is a healthy, balanced market.

As usual, Fulton had the most sales and the highest price among the region’s core counties.

Bill Rawlings, president of the Realtors group, said he looks at the overall economy -- including job growth -- and doesn’t expect the market’s trajectory to change. 

“We are optimistic that this economic environment will continue with healthy increases in average home sales price and homes closed.”

A comparison among the four largest counties:

County..... Units sold... Median price 

Cobb             789              $260,000 

DeKalb          684             $273,000 

Fulton            906            $360,000 

Gwinnett      929              $229,000 

Source: Atlanta Realtors Association 


AJC Business reporter Michael E. Kanell keeps you updated on the latest news about jobs, housing and consumer issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

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