It’s not just you: Atlanta’s home shortage is worst in nation

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

In fact, Atlanta has the worst shortage of homes for sale in the country – that is, the scarcest inventory of any major market, according to data crunched by Georgia Multiple Listing Service and passed along by Virgent Realty.

Experts have been complaining for several years that the balance of supply and demand has been tilted in metro Atlanta like the Leaning Tower of Pisa – in this case, 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.

Obviously, what might be a challenge to buyers is not such a bad thing if you are planning to sell a house. Especially if you have a well-kept place in a nice area – and even more especially, if it's a good school district.

"It paints a pretty rosy picture for Atlanta homeowners who are thinking about selling a home," said Ben Kubic, chief executive of Virgent.

The imbalance should mean higher prices and quicker sales and, sure enough, that is happening in many areas, Kubic said: “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.”

The notion of inventory rests on the relationship between supply and demand.

In other words, it’s not just the number of homes for sale, it’s how many homes are being sold in the area that tells you what the balance looks like.

Nationally, the number of homes for sale represents about 4.7 months of sales, Kubic said. “Meaning that Atlanta counties had anywhere from half to three-quarters the inventory of this national average, and none came close to the average.”

Only in one large county is inventory rising: Forsyth.

The biggest drop was in Paulding, but among the large, core counties, the biggest drop was in Gwinnett, where inventory fell nearly 22 percent in the past year, according to Georgia Multiple Listing Service.

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

Atlanta housing inventory, from last May to this one:

  • 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

Source: Virgent Realty, Georgia Multiple Listing Service

Median price, change since last May:

  • Cobb: 1.91 percent
  • Gwinnett: 6.59 percent
  • Cherokee: 7.33 percent
  • DeKalb: 8.81 percent
  • Paulding: 15.71 percent
  • Fulton: 8.16 percent
  • Forsyth: 3.80 percent

Source: Virgent Realty, Georgia Multiple Listing Service

Days on market, change since last May:

  • Cobb: DOWN 16.7%
  • Gwinnett: DOWN 11.1%
  • Cherokee: DOWN 3.9%
  • DeKalb: DOWN 12.5%
  • Paulding: NO CHANGE
  • Fulton: DOWN 9.8%
  • Forsyth: UP 5.8%

Source: Virgent Realty, Georgia Multiple Listing Service