Metro Atlanta has nation’s tightest supply of homes for sale

How metro Atlanta’s inventory of homes for sale has changed (from May, 2015 to May, 2016)

— Cobb: down 16.94 percent

— Gwinnett: down 21.84 percent

— Cherokee: down 18.41 percent

— DeKalb: down 11.41 percent

— Paulding: down 25.49 percent

— Fulton: down 4.55 percent

— Forsyth: up 2.46 percent

Median price, change since May, 2015

— Cobb: up 1.91 percent

— Gwinnett: up 6.59 percent

— Cherokee: up 7.33 percent

— DeKalb: up 8.81 percent

— Paulding: up 15.71 percent

— Fulton: up 8.16 percent

— Forsyth: up 3.80 percent

Source: Virgent Realty, Georgia Multiple Listing Service

If you are house hunting and it seems like there just aren’t enough homes to choose from, it’s not your imagination.

Metro Atlanta has the worst shortage of homes for sale in the country, according to data crunched by the Georgia Multiple Listing Service and passed along by Virgent Realty.

Experts have complained for years that metro Atlanta’s balance of housing supply and demand is tilting like the Leaning Tower of Pisa: there’s a lot more demand than supply.

That means that, in some areas, potential homebuyers often find themselves bidding against each other for attractive homes and, in other areas, they may not find what they’re looking for at all.

A tight supply of homes is good for sellers. Especially those who have a well-kept place in a nice area with a good school district.

It should mean higher prices and quicker sales, said Ben Kubic, chief executive of Virgent. “If you’re thinking about selling, now is one of those rare opportunities where you can price towards the high end of the market and reasonably expect to see some quick activity.”

A crucial measure is not just how many homes are for sale, but how many have been sold in an area.

Nationally, at the current pace of purchases it would take 4.7 months to sell what’s already on the market, Kubic said. Atlanta counties have much less inventory than the national average, so it would take even longer to sell, he said.

Over the last year, inventory has risen in only one of the seven metro Atlanta counties Kubic tracked: Forsyth.

The biggest inventory drop over that period was in Paulding. Gwinnett’s inventory fell nearly 22 percent, according to the Georgia Multiple Listing Service.

“We’re basically at a five-year low for active inventory on the market,” Kubic said.