It's not just you- house hunting right now is hard. The supply of homes for sale is at a 20-year low. An economist for a realtor group said he expects supply to remain low for at least another year. Home building has been hindered by the hurricanes and fires this year.

Metro Atlanta home sales crimped by record shortage of listings

Metro Atlanta’s incredible, shrinking inventory is at it again: the number of homes listed for sale continued to fall in April, according to a report issued by Re/Max of Georgia.

That supply of homes on the market represented just 1.9 months of sales, compared to the six or seven months of supply that is typical in a healthy real estate market. It was also a drop of 27 percent from the inventory number during the same month a year ago, Re/Max said.

The result is a tilt in the supply-demand balance that in some areas means many wannabe homebuyers bidding for a smaller number of homes.

“It is undeniably a seller’s market in great Atlanta,” said John Rainey, vice president of Re/Max Georgia. “There’s simply not enough homes for sale.”

Demand flows from a growing economy and a solid job market, although a prolonged downturn would chill that demand. The last recession, for example, decimated demand for homes and virtually eliminated construction of new houses.

And a seller’s market means higher prices: the median price of a home sold in metro Atlanta last month was $243,000 – up a solid 8.1 percent from April a year ago.

“The region’s median home price is a reflection of the shortage,” Rainey said.

That shortage of listings can dampen the total number of sales. The number of sales in Fulton and DeKalb counties were down from a year ago.

Only Gwinnett had more than 1,000 home sales during April.

But fewer listings can mean fiercer competition which means higher prices. For price, the hottest counties were Cobb, where the median price has jumped 15 percent in the past year and Clayton, where the median has climbed 12 percent.

The mismatch of supply and demand also means that desirable homes sell more quickly – especially if they are in good school districts. The average time a home spent on the market before selling was 42 days in April. A year ago, it was 49 days.

The trend toward fewer listings and higher prices is not new.

While Atlanta is not one of the hottest American markets – at least according to the Case-Shiller national index – it is slightly stronger than average.

Nationally, the median sales price nationally was up 7.5 percent from a year ago and the supply of homes for sale represented 2.5 months of sales.

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