In this Tuesday, May 16, 2017, photo, work continues on new town homes under construction, in Woodstock, Ga. New construction is up, but not enough to satisfy all potential buyers.
Photo: AP Photo/John Bazemore
Photo: AP Photo/John Bazemore

Atlanta housing: Where are the listings? Market unbalanced, prices rising

Metro Atlanta housing got a healthy dose of same-old, same-old last month, according to two reports.

Same: Rising prices.

Same: Fewer homes for sale.

Old: Not the lists of homes for sale – they get snapped up awfully fast, according to a report released by Re/Max Georgia. The average listing in May was on the market 43 days, down from 48 days in the same month a year earlier.

The quickest turnarounds were in Gwinnett and Cobb, where a home was on the market just 36 days on average. Among the core counties, the slowest sales were in Clayton, which averaged 62 days, according to Re/Max.

The median sales price of a home sold in metro Atlanta last month was $232,500 – a 5.4 percent increase from the same month of last year, according to Re/Max

A separate report, released at the end of last week by the Atlanta Realtors Association, showed the median price of a metro Atlanta home up slightly less, but with a higher closing price. Prices rose 4.9 percent in May from the same month a year ago, said the Realtors.

The median price in May was $258,000, according to the Realtors report, which was calculated for the association by First Multiple Listing Service.  https://www.fmls.com/MemberLogin/login.cfm

The county with the most home sales in May was Gwinnett, which record 1,195 sales, followed by Fulton, which had 1,087 sold, according to Re/Max. Cobb came in third with 1,027 sales and DeKalb followed that with 797 sales.

There were 9,317 sales in metro Atlanta overall, up just 2 percent from last year, the report said. 

CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES SAY THEY HAVE TROUBLE FINDING WORKERS

But when it comes to diagnosing the market’s health, most experts focus on inventory – that is, the number of homes listed for sale. A healthy market has enough homes for sale to give buyers and sellers roughly equal footing in negotiations, but Atlanta has increasingly been a sellers’ market. 

HOME FLIPPING UP SHARPLY OF LATE

 A balanced market has inventory equal to six or seven months worth of sales. By contrast, the metro Atlanta market has just 2.4 months of supply, down from 2.9 months a year ago, according to Re/Max.

Experts have struggled to explain the shortage in home listings.

But there may be something circular about the problem, a sort of trouble that feeds on itself, said John Rainey, Re/Max vice president. “We believe the continual rise in prices along with very limited inventory in metro-Atlanta may be keeping some potential move-up home buyers from listing their current properties.” 

RISING PRICES AND FIRST-TIME BUYERS

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