The number of home sales has been dampened by a lack of lower-priced listings (Bloomberg photo by Ty Wright)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Metro Atlanta home sales flat since last year, but prices rise

Sales activity in the metro Atlanta housing market has chilled this summer, but prices continue to rise steadily, according to a report released this week.

Those stagnating sales and high prices are a sign that sellers still have a stronger hand in the market than buyers, according to DeAnn Golden, president of the Atlanta Realtors Association.

“It is great news for Atlanta’s current homeowners,” she said.

The median sales price of a home in July was $295,000, up 7.3% from a year ago, the Realtors reported using data compiled by First Multiple Listing Service.

In July, there were 5,938 home sales in the 11-county region centering on Atlanta – zero growth from the same month a year ago, according to the report.

And that was better than a month ago, when the number of sales was down 12.7% from June 2018.

Behind the sales shortfall is a mismatch between potential buyers and sellers, according to the group. The prices of most homes listed for sale are substantially higher than what most wannabe buyers can afford – especially those younger adults looking to own their first home.

The total number of homes listed for sale is up slightly from a year ago, according to the Realtors. The supply of listings represents about 3.1 months of sales, less than half of the level required for buyers and sellers to have roughly equal bargaining power.

Torrence Ford, broker and owner of Re/Max Premier, said he’s seen potential buyers searching in vain for houses in their price range.

“There have been buyers looking since last year,” he said.

The market also dampens the willingness of some owners to become sellers, he said. The lack of modestly priced listings makes them cautious about selling their houses — out of fear they won’t be able to afford a move-up home, he said.

Among the core counties of metro Atlanta, Gwinnett had the most sales, and Fulton had the highest price, according to the Realtors report.

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