Home prices have been increasing, but at a slower pace, according to the Case Shiller index. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, FIle)
Photo: Matt Rourke
Photo: Matt Rourke

Atlanta home price gains slow, but still outpace most cities

Atlanta home price increases are slowing, but other big cities are hitting the brakes harder, according to a much-watched monthly survey.

Metro Atlanta home prices rose 4.7% in February from a year earlier, the fourth-fastest rise among the nation’s largest 20 metropolitan areas, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller.

Only Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tampa had bigger increases.

On average, home prices in the 20 cities were up just 3.0% from February 2018.

Virtually all the large metros – including Atlanta – have seen a deceleration of prices since mid-2018 after places like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco posted years of double-digit increases.

Several factors are at play, including the rising number of homes listed for sale. “Since January, the overall pool of homes for sale has swelled. And sales were anemic,” said Skylar Olsen, senior economist for Zillow, a national real estate database.

Another big factor: Home price gains steadily outpaced income gains in recent years. “Slowing U.S. home price growth has primarily been driven by affordability constraints,” said Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic’s deputy chief economist.

Several cities saw prices dip in the past few months and are now “on the cusp” of seeing their first annual declines since the housing market turned around in 2012, he said.

Among the 20 cities, the biggest price increase came in Las Vegas, up 9.7% from the previous February. The smallest increase was in San Diego, up 1.1%.

Case-Shiller does not track sales of new homes, just resales. And the higher the price a home sells for, the more weight the Case index gives to the sale.

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