Home prices continue to climb in most metro Atlanta neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Photo: AP Photo/Steve Helber
Photo: AP Photo/Steve Helber

Home prices in Atlanta up as supply dwindles

The supply of homes for sale in Atlanta continued to fall, which helped push prices higher last month, according to several reports.

The median sales price of a home in October was $269,000, up 3.5% from the same month a year ago, according to the Atlanta Realtors Association, using data from an 11-county area.

“Over the past 6 months we’ve continued to see consistent market growth,” said DeAnn Golden, president of the association. “That trend continued for October 2019 as average and median sales prices proceeded to gain traction.”

Among large metro areas, Atlanta this past year has seen the fifth-fastest rise in the price of homes, according to the monthly report from the S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller index. In the South, both Charlotte and Tampa recorded slightly larger growth, according to the index.

One reason Atlanta’s prices have kept rising, however, is the imbalance between the number of potential buyers and the number of homes listed for sale – that is, supply.

The number of listing was down 3.4% from a year ago, when supply was already considered unhealthily meager. October’s supply represented just three months supply of sales – less than half of what experts consider a balanced market in which buyers and sellers have roughly equal bargaining power.

Moreover, the number of homes sold has hardly changed from last year, perhaps a sign that many areas have been priced out of the reach of first-time buyers.

Fulton County recorded the highest median price during the month: $325,000. However Gwinnett had the most home sales, with 970 closings.

Inside the city of Atlanta, average sales prices have crossed the seven-figure threshold in Ansley Park and Morningside, and sales in many neighborhoods are well above the metro area average, according to Bill Adams, president of Adams Realtors.

However, in some of the higher-priced areas, the price has dipped, he said. “The pace of price appreciation does seem to be slowing down.”

Prices slid slightly in Old Fourth Ward where the average price was $629,270 last year. But it wasn’t just the highest-priced parts of the city. Prices were down 8% in College Park where the average was $241,805. Prices declined 3% in Druid Hills where the average price was $863,668.

It may be that sellers are anxious to cash in, so they put homes on the market that need more repairs. It might be that some potential buyers are holding back, because of political or economic uncertainty.

It might also be that there just aren’t enough buyers who can handle the rising prices.

“It could be an affordability issue,” Adams said. “Practically, many of these markets seem to have hit a price ceiling.”

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